FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2013
Statement from New Yorkers Against Fracking
Re: Conflict of interest raised by Ecology and Environment, Inc.’s role as signatory on IOGA of NY letter to Governor Cuomo
New Yorkers Against Fracking released the following statement from John Armstrong of Frack Action today in response to the conflict of interest raised by Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E) – the outside consultant contracted by the Cuomo administration to provide studies of fracking’s economic impacts and seismologic impacts on New York – signing on to the Independent Oil & Gas Association’s letter to Governor Cuomo urging he move forward with fracking.
“The conflict of interest raised by this arrangement is one of epic proportions, as it appears that our taxpayer dollars have been used to advance the interests of the gas industry rather than the public interest. This further calls into question E&E’s 2011 economic study of fracking on our state – thatDEC Commissioner Martens had already acknowledged was flawed and has refused to answer questions about – and the seismology study it conducted for the state that already had credibility issues.
“It’s clear that E&E has revealed itself as very far from an impartial actor, and its role has jeopardized the integrity of the state’s review of fracking. We call on Governor Cuomo to instruct Commissioner Martens and the DEC to throw out their industry-biased studies and conduct new, truly independent studies of both the socioeconomic and the seismologic impacts of fracking on our state.”
Ecology & Environment, Inc. (E&E) was contracted by the DEC in 2011 to provide analysis of the economic impact of allowing fracking in New York. Following criticism by members of the DEC’s High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel on the analysis’ examination of the costs of fracking, DEC Commissioner Martens acknowledged the shortcomings of the study and requested additional analysis of the socioeconomic impacts of fracking.
In a follow-up letter to Commissioner Martens, economist Jannette Barth noted that E&E failed to adequately analyze fracking’s impact on home values, home mortgage and insurance eligibility, and the use of eminent domain, as well as the costs of damage to the environment and human health and the costs of repairing highways.
E&E has also been involved in New York State’s seismology study of fracking, which already suffers from a conflict of interest with the lead researcher, Dr. Robert Jacobi, maintaining significant ties to the gas industry.
Senators Tony Avella and Cecelia Tkaczyk raised serious concerns in February about the conflicts of interest plaguing the state’s seismology study and the risks posed by seismic impacts associated with fracking.