Just twelve days earlier, Governor Cuomo said that no decision had yet been made as to whether he would permit or prohibit hydraulic fracking in New York State because, “we are waiting for the [Department of Conservation] to finish its final report and that hasn’t happened yet.” On the same day, DEC chief Joe Martens corroborated the governor in a statement of his own, saying, “There is still more work to be done” and “there is no firm timetable.” As recently as this past Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said that DEC is still in the middle of their review on fracking.
Throughout the shale gas drilling review process, independent scientists—along with physicians, economists, elected officials, and business leaders—have attempted to bring before both the governor and senior DEC officials serious unaddressed concerns about fracking. These range from public health effects and toxic wastewater disposal to well casing failures and radon. At every turn, our communiqués have gone unanswered, even while gas industry representatives have enjoyed reciprocal conversationswith DEC staff and sneak peeks at draft regulations unseen by the rest of us. In light of this one-sided access, the CBS story is one more indication that industry influence and bad faith are driving the biggest environmental decision in the history of New York State.
As the signatory to several of these letters, I assure the governor that many of us are prepared to be public with our discontent and will not be patient with attempts to create a fait accompli.
–Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Ithaca College; co-founder, New Yorkers Against Fracking