Lifton Concerned about Lack of Transparency with “Secret” sGEIS Health Review

Process and information shrouded in secrecy
November 28, 2012

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP- 125th AD) today expressed great concern about the lack of clear information and transparency regarding the DOH “review” of the DEC’s work on the possible effects of high-volume hydro-fracking on human health.

“First, the plan to appoint an expert panel was leaked to the press with no formal announcement and also lacking the crucial information about the scope of their work or a plan for an open and transparent process. More confusion has followed about the completion date of the review, with no clear public notice from either agency. The result is that public officials and all New Yorkers are left without assurances that the DEC is planning an appropriate process to safeguard public health from the risks of hydro-fracking,” Lifton said.

Lifton is calling upon the DEC or DOH to announce how they intend to involve the public in the process. While calling in outside experts can be helpful, she believes it is no substitute for a transparent, public process. With many in-state experts who have been following this issue closely, Lifton said it is important that they have an opportunity to give input to state government about what would constitute a comprehensive review.

“After the shattering of trust that has resulted from the sGEIS process, and the outpouring of comments that came from it, it’s very important that there be full public involvement and oversight,” Lifton asserted.

Lifton believes the Governor and the DEC should withdraw the entire sGEIS and start again with a proper scoping process, putting issues of human health front and center. “Human health deserves to be one of our main areas of concern in this process, not something tagged on at the end as an afterthought, and dealt with in a secret review to boot. That secrecy is adding insult to injury,” Lifton concluded.