DEC's push to drill isn't in public's best interest

Guest Viewpoint

By Gerri Wiley

Published: November 29, 2011
Press and Sun-Bulletin

The New York state Department of
Environmental Conservation's mission is "to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being."

The DEC's attempt to regulate rather than prohibit hydraulic fracturing in New York state abrogates its mission and places our families' health, safety and welfare in jeopardy.

The reasons given in the Revised Draft
Supplemental Generic Environmental I
mpact Statement (rdsGEIS), section 9.1, for not choosing to prohibit hydrofracking suffer from flawed logic:

» Economic benefits at the cost of
destroying air, water, soil, quality of life and, indeed, our very survival as a species, far surpass any short-term dollars for industry and a small segment of the public.

» Our national interest is not served by continued use of fossil fuels. President Barack Obama has been quoted as saying, "Unless we free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe."

» The state DEC states it must conduct
large-scale drilling in order to conserve and regulate oil and gas to prevent waste.
The ultimate act of conservation, however, is to choose renewable energy. The sun and wind remain wasted resources, not even invited to the game table because of DEC's second "mission" — to develop mineral resources.

» The state DEC uses the 2009 New York
State Energy Plan and its recommendation to proceed with "renewable energy and natural gas in order to meet climate change, public health and environmental objectives." Much has been learned in two years. We now know that hydrofracking's lifecycle emissions rob it of its industry- professed "clean natural gas" status and put it on par with coal as the enemy of a habitable climate.

» The DEC's confidence in its ability to mitigate significant adverse impacts is simply a delusion of grandeur not borne out by experience with extreme extraction methods globally.

» Allowing owners the opportunity to realize benefits is not the DEC's job. When vultures descend upon a dead economy, the solution is not for the DEC to regulate the vultures. It is to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment so that when the 99 percent rise up against the vultures, they have clean air, water, soil, their health and their strength to create a thriving, sustainable economy.

If we are apathetic, we may find ourselves with a well drilled 100 feet from our home and 150 feet from our child's elementary school. It is our responsibility to protect our families. Write to the DEC today; comments must be received by Dec. 12.

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