JLCNY Letter to Gov. Cuomo on Missing the Nov. 29 Deadline


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A letter from Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressing profound disappointment that Cuomo intends to let the Nov. 29 date slip by without releasing new drilling rules to allow shale gas drilling in the state.

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JLCNY Letter to Gov. Cuomo on Missing the Nov. 29 Deadline

  1. 1. Open Letter to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Joseph Martens November 20, 2012Honorable Andrew M. CuomoGovernor, New York StateExecutive Chamber, NYS CapitolAlbany, New York 12224Commissioner Joseph MartensDepartment of Environmental Conservation625 Broadway, 14th FloorAlbany, NY 12233-1010Dear Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens:On behalf of the Joint Landowner s Coalition of New York (JLCNY), I am writing toexpress our strong disappointment in Governor Cuomo’s recent comments that therelease of the final draft SGEIS and the corresponding regulations will be extendedbeyond November 29, 2012. The JLCNY has supported and continues to support bestenvironmental practices concerning natural gas development, but fails to see thepurpose, or benefit, of yet another delay.As you have said, reliable available science and studies should guide us in astraightforward simple review of health impacts related to the proposed safeguardsdefined by the DEC in its SGEIS. To extend the process beyond November 29, 2012 isan insult to the tremendous efforts of your DEC experts, taxpayers and all of us whohave strived diligently to contribute reliably to this over four year process.The JLCNY representing 77,000 New York landowners have been active andsubstantive contributors to the dialogue for careful development over the past fouryears. Our families and friends are physically the closest to the potential impacts ofhigh volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) and have the utmost responsibility to
  2. 2. inform ourselves and our government about HVHF. Our self-interest is in protecting ourgenerations-old properties, our families’ health, communities and our basic economicand property rights.Our organization has advanced numerous constructive recommendations to requirebetter handling of produced water at the well site, to include reduced air emission“green” completions, to require repair to surface disruptions and other tangibleimprovements to protect community impacts. We want to ensure that New York is atthe forefront of the safeguards for natural gas development. We recognize that naturalgas will power our economies, lead to more affordable energy options and have positiveenvironmental impacts on air quality and greenhouse gasses.On air emissions, states and the Federal government (US Environmental ProtectionAgency) have already done substantial work on health issues. For example, on April17, 2012, the EPA issued regulations to reduce air pollution from the oil and gasindustry. “A key component of the final rule is expected to yield a 95 percent reductionin VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted from more than 11,000 new hydraulicallyfractured wells each year. This significant reduction would be accomplished primarilythrough the use of a proven process – known as a “reduced emission completion” or“green completion” – to capture natural gas the currently escapes to the air” (EPAOVERVIEW OF FINAL AMENDMENTS TO AIR REGULATIONS FOR THE OIL ANDNATURAL GAS INDUSTRY).We also refer you to important activities at the state level. In Colorado, “The EPA’sapproval of the Regional Haze Plan is a ringing endorsement of a comprehensive andcollaborative effort between many different groups," Colorado’s Governor JohnHickenlooper said. "Colorado’s utilities, environmental community, oil and gas industry,health advocates and regulators all came together to address air quality. We embracethis success as a model for continuing to balance economic growth with wise publicpolicy that protects community health and our environmental values.” The planimplements sweeping public health and environmental protections by reducing pollutionthrough emissions controls, retiring coal-fired power plants and converting certainelectric generating units from coal to cleaner burning natural gas. (Press Release,Office of the Governor of Colorado, September 11, 2012 the JLCNY’s comprehensive comments to the SGEIS submitted in January, werecommended that the NYSDEC petition the New York State Public ServiceCommission to allow pipelines to be installed so that natural gas completions at wellsites could be conducted as reduced emission completions. 2
  3. 3. To review air emission impacts, we would encourage turning attention to a review ofexisting expert studies concerning air pollution from natural gas development, such asthe “City of Fort Worth Natural Gas Air Quality Study: Final Report” published July 13,2011. This report is the most useful because it reviews an area with both a highpopulation density and extensive natural gas development with hydraulic fracturing.Please see the attached Appendix 1 for key language from the “Conclusions andRecommendations” portion of the final report. We also recommend that you review theHealth Watch by the Australian Institute of Petroleum Health Surveillance TwelfthReport from the University of Adelaide Department of Public Health. This report followsworkers in the oil and gas industry for decades and compares their health and mortalitywith the general population.While the JLCNY works to provide constructive solutions, paid professional activists areincreasingly targeting everything related to energy, even natural gas pipeline projectsand elements essential to powering job creating factories, reducing school andconsumer heating costs, and firing power plants to serve major load demands as calledfor under the Governor’s Energy Highway Blueprint just released. The activists havebeen offering good paying compensation packages to hire obstructionists from LongIsland to Buffalo and all metro areas to halt all energy related development (see Food &Watch announcements; Appendix 2). Continued delay only empowers these paidprofessional activists whose goals are to stall shale gas drilling and all forms of progressto build a viable energy infrastructure.Our message is simple and clear. We respect the State’s need to be diligent in itsefforts. We also recognize that it is our obligation to contribute constructively to our self-government with reliable and well considered information. After four years of analysisand preparation, there is no need to be influenced by paid professional activists. Healthissues associated with natural gas development have been studied. We, as neighborsto potential well sites, appreciate the need to ensure that health and safety concerns areappropriately addressed. We have actively researched scientific studies, facts, and reallife development to assure the best practices are observed. The JLCNY continues tosupport best management practices on all aspects of natural gas development,including closed loop drilling, use of steel tanks to contain flowback, multiple pipecasings cemented to the surface, GPS units on trucks, stormwater pollution preventionplans, spill containment personnel on site, reduced emission completions, and meetingall present and future air quality regulations.Stable and affordable energy is essential for those desperately seeking a better futurelike seniors struggling to heat their homes, families striving to educate their children and 3
  4. 4. keep them close to home, urban cities looking to produce power while reducing airemissions, small businesses struggling to attract new consumers and growth industrieslooking to innovate and expand across the State.Our members listened carefully to your promise that sound science and the facts, notbaseless scare tactics and politics, would govern this process. Delay beyond theNovember 29, 2012 despite having considered over 80,000 comments, is a breach offaith in our government and flies in the face of the promise that New York is beyond itsdysfunction and truly open for new business investment. We urge you to be guided bythe important existing science and evidence captured by the experts within youragencies and to proceed without further delay. Respectfully, Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc. By:_______________________________ Dan Fitzsimmons, Presidentcc: Commissioner Shah 4
  5. 5. Appendix 1City of Fort Worth Natural Gas Air Quality Study: Final ReportJuly 13, 2011Section 8 – Conclusions and Recommendationsp. 8-1“Commencing with planning activities in July 2010 and field activities in August 2010, the Fort WorthNatural Gas Air Quality Study was a multi-phase project aimed at characterizing the air quality impactsof natural gas exploration and production, determining any potential health risks associated with thoseimpacts, quantifying the total amount of pollutants being emitted, and determining if natural gas siteswere in compliance with air quality regulations. Two primary raw data collection activities were used: 1)an ambient air monitoring network, and 2) a systematic point source testing program. Point sourcetesting data were then used to perform air dispersion modeling, and measured and modeled airconcentrations were used in the public health evaluation. Each of these tasks was designed to help cityofficials answer the following questions:  How much air pollution is being released by natural gas exploration in Fort Worth?  Do sites comply with environmental regulation?  How do releases from these sites affect off-site air pollution levels?  Are the city’s required setbacks for these sites adequate to protect public health?”p. 8-6“ERG conducted a health screening evaluation to evaluate the health implications of air emissions fromnatural gas exploration and production activity. This evaluation was based on protective health-basedscreening values, primarily those published by TCEQ, though consideration was also given to EPA andATSDR values for the pollutants of greatest concern. The ambient air monitoring data revealed no site-related pollutants with 24-hour average concentrations or program-average concentrations aboveTCEQ’s health-based screening levels. The modeling analysis identified three pollutants—acrolein,benzene, and formaldehyde—with estimated 1-hour average or annual average concentrations abovescreening levels at some offsite locations. This was most prevalent for sites with multiple, large linecompressor engines. However, due to the highly protective nature of the health-based screeningvalues, none of the estimated concentrations reached levels expected to be associated with adversehealth effects.The modeling analysis served as the basis for evaluating the adequacy of setback distances. For theoverwhelming majority of sites considered in this study, the modeling results indicate that Fort Worth’s600-foot setback distance is adequate. More specifically, for sites with no engines and for sites with 5
  6. 6. smaller lift engines, no pollutants were found to have estimated 1-hour maximum or annual averageconcentrations above TCEQ’s applicable health-based screening levels beyond the setback distances.For the relatively few sites with multiple, large line engines, the modeling analysis found some areasbeyond the setbacks to have estimated acrolein and formaldehyde concentrations greater than TCEQ’sESLs, though not reaching concentrations expected to cause adverse health effects. For both pollutants,ERG’s modeling is based entirely on estimated emission rates, and not measured values.” 6
  7. 7. Appendix 2Temporary Organizers based in LongIsland, Hudson Valley, Albany, Syracuse,and RochesterFood & Water Watch is a leading national consumer advocacy organization that runs dynamic, cuttingedge campaigns challenging the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources. Workingtogether with Frack Action and over 170 groups across the state we formed New Yorkers AgainstFracking, a broad-based coalition fighting for a ban on fracking throughout New York.We are building out our organizing capacity in New York to prevent fracking in New York State and areseeking a temporary contract organizer to build capacity in the following five areas of the state: LongIsland, the Hudson Valley, Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester. Each Organizer will work to develop andimplement legislative, field organizing, and media strategies in support of this campaign. The Organizerrepresents FWW and New Yorkers Against Fracking and works as a leader in local coalitions to broadensupport for our policy goals. This position runs from October through the end of the year.Specific Responsibilities  Serving as Food & Water Watch’s and New Yorkers Against Fracking’s representative in the local area as needed.  Developing localized campaign plan  Outreach to local organizations and elected officials and other grass-tops leaders  Developing and working with activists and volunteers to build support for a ban on fracking and incorporating them into Food & Water Watch’s leadership development structure  Developing and implementing organizing strategies for gathering petitions and databasing those petitions so we can contact new activists through our e-alert system  Participating in media events and other speaking engagements  Leading strategy sessions  Coordinating with Food & Water Watch and New Yorkers Against Fracking staff in New York  Electronic communication with activists on fracking  Promotion of Food & Water Watch membership at events.  Other duties as assignedRequirements  Experience: At least one year experience in advocacy on public policy issues, and/or grassroots/field organizing.  Knowledge: Organizing, advocacy and legislative strategy techniques; familiarity New York political environment; consumer and environmental issues; working with the media. Experience and familiarity with the local area is a major plus but not required.  Skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills; strong interpersonal and planning; excellent organizational skills. Knowledge of online activism and email listservs strongly preferred.  Capabilities: Ability to think creatively and quickly to respond to legislative developments and to take advantage of breaking news; demonstrated leadership capability; ability to work well with a wide variety of people and to coordinate diverse tasks; ability to present technical concepts 7
  8. 8. to a mass audience; can-do attitude and commitment to public interest work. Work well under pressure, handle multiple tasks at once, and adapt to changing situations on a daily basis. High level of independent judgment.  Conditions: Strong interest in and commitment to promoting the goals of Food & Water Watch and New Yorkers Against Fracking. Applicant must be legally eligible to work in the United States.CompensationThis is a non-benefited temporary organizer position. Salary range $600-$800/week depending onlocation and experience.How to ApplyPlease send a resume, cover letter, writing sample and three references to Positionopen until filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Food & Water Watch strives for a diversework environment and encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and differently-abledpeople to apply. 8