Kavanagh Submits Formal Comments to State on Gas Drilling Process

December 31, 2009

On December 31, 2009, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh submitted formal comments to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding its Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS) on natural gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale formation.

In a comprehensive 4,000-word document, Kavanagh detailed nine specific objections to the current draft of the environmental impact statement, which Kavanagh asserts should be fully addressed before the document is finalized and before any of the proposed drilling is permitted. Among these points, Kavanagh called on the DEC to review incidents of spills and contamination in other states more thoroughly to ensure that serious dangers are not repeated here, ban drilling in the NYC Watershed and other environmentally sensitive areas, ban certain toxic chemicals from being pumped into the ground, mandate full public disclosure of all chemicals used by drilling companies, explore additional wastewater and disposal options, consider ways to require the drilling industry to fund the costs of permitting and oversight, and ensure that all required components of the environmental review are thoroughly examined, including the requirement that the cumulative impact of the drilling and related activities be fully assessed. Kavanagh also reiterated his request that the period for public comment on the dSGEIS be extended through at least the end of January 2010.