Lifton Calls For Public Hearing on Hydrofracking and Release of DEC Documents

March 2, 2011

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF- 125th AD) today has called for a public hearing and for the release of all documents exchanged between NYS DEC and the federal EPA on High-volume Hydrofracking (HVHF) from 2007, when concerns were first raised about HVHF in New York, through the current SGEIS process. Lifton said these actions are warranted based on new reporting by The New York Times on the issue of HVHF, its impact on drinking water in Pennsylvania, especially, and the disposal of flowback water in New York.

“The investigation done by New York Times raises fresh alarm about the issues I and many others have raised regarding the nature of the flowback wastewater from hydrofracking, its treatment and disposal, and the potential danger to public health,” said Lifton.

“We need to stop and ask questions about the EPA and industry research that highlights the inability of wastewater treatment plants to adequately process flowback from hydrofracking, and about whether the EPA adequately shared the results of their 2009 investigation of the Monongahela River disaster which resulted in Pittsburgh’s 850,000 residents having to drink bottled water, described by the EPA as ‘one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public,’” Lifton continued. Lifton said the issue of elevated levels of radioactivity of the flowback wastewater is one of many critical areas that needs immediate attention, as the EPA found that, even after treatment, discharged wastewater with dangerous levels of radiation contamination posed a great risk to drinking water.

“We must not allow for the contamination of NY’s critical fresh water resources. Gathering information to fully understand the risks of hydrofracking is critical in crafting the best public policy in New York, if, indeed, drilling is allowed to occur. We simply cannot allow the kind of disasters that have happened in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to happen here in New York State. The health of all New Yorkers hangs in the balance,” Lifton emphasized.

Please click here to view the letter to the DEC.