For Immediate Release Contact: Sandy Galef (518) 455-5348
Assemblywoman Galef Hails Assembly Passage of Moratorium on Hydrofracking in New York State
Legislation would delay issuance of certain permits for natural gas drilling until May 2015, allowing for further research of potential health and environmental risks
(March 6, 2013) Assemblywoman Sandy Galef strongly supported a bill that passed the Assembly today calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. This will allow for additional time to further examine the potential public health risks and environmental safety concerns associated with the new drilling techniques proposed for the state. Galef said that the legislation, A.5424-A, would delay the Department of Environmental Conservation’s issuance of certain new natural gas drilling permits in New York until May 15, 2015. The measure would also require a comprehensive health impact assessment to be completed by a SUNY school of public health, and to be made public no later than April 15, 2015.
“Last year, I took a road trip to Towanda, Pennsylvania where hydraulic fracturing was in high gear. I was surprised to find no health impact study had been done in that state. In fact, I met with a doctor from the University of Pennsylvania who was just embarking on such research and who shared that even in other states where this particular process of gas drilling was in progress, no studies had yet been conducted, save for phase one of a Colorado study, that were considered significant in the medical field. A study of human and animal health had just been completed in New York, which was the launching pad for more exhaustive studies. Some people I met there were complaining about what they believed were negative health impacts to themselves, their neighbors, and local livestock from their water supply, similar to some of the conclusions of the New York study. While there may be potential economic gain from hydrofracking in New York, I am concerned that what is proposed for the state could have harmful consequences for the health of those living and working in the state,” Galef said. “We do not have those answers yet. The Assembly’s legislation would allow additional time to assess the true public health and environmental impact of the new drilling techniques. Rushing this decision would be reckless and a disservice to hardworking New Yorkers. We need to ensure a thorough, deliberate, and unbiased analysis of this complicated and controversial issue before making a decision that could have irreversible consequences.”
The measure would place a moratorium on the issuance of permits for natural gas extraction in low permeability natural gas pools, like the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. This bill would help ensure the Legislature has adequate time to review the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) once it is finalized.
Hydraulic fracturing – commonly referred to as hydrofracking – is a process used to extract natural gas by injecting a chemical cocktail and highly pressurized water into underground rock formations. Many of Galef’s constituents and environmental groups that work in and represent the area have expressed great concern that hydrofracking could contaminate clean drinking water supplies and cause damage to the surrounding environment.
“Until we have all the facts, it’s not worth putting our families and the environment in danger,” Galef said. “There is simply too much at risk.”