800+ Elected Officials Group Releases Municipal Resolutions Passed Across State Urging Caution on Fracking, Support for Renewable Energy

April 22, 2014

800+ Elected Officials Group Releases Municipal Resolutions Passed Across State Urging Caution on Fracking, Support for Renewable Energy

Albany, Cooperstown, Syracuse among Municipalities that have Passed Resolution

Albany – Over the past months, Elected Officials to Protect New York – a group of more than 800 local elected officials from all 62 New York State counties – have passed resolutions in municipalities across the state urging renewed caution on fracking and touting municipal support for the growing opportunities presented by renewable energy for New York State. A group of elected officials held a press conference in Albany today to release the resolutions and speak to the concerns and great opportunities before the state.

Municipalities that have already passed the resolution are the City of Albany, Town of Brighton, Village of Cooperstown, Town of Danby, Town of Otsego, Town of New Paltz, Town of Rochester, City of Syracuse, Tompkins County and Town of Ulysses, with more under way. Copies of the resolutions are available online here: http://www.nyelectedofficials.org/our-concerns-about-fracking/

Town of Otsego Councilmember Julie Huntsman noted why Elected Officials to Protect New York initially drafted a template resolution, saying, “The municipal resolutions were spurred by the significant increase in the body of scientific evidence showing harm from fracking over the last year and the increasing need for growth in renewable energy. The response has been very positive, a testament to New Yorkers’ commitment to ensuring a healthy, prosperous future.”

The resolutions urge Governor Cuomo to continue the state’s moratorium on fracking and to continue and increase investment in renewable energy and efficiency.

Among the speakers at the Albany press conference was Lou Allstadt, a Trustee of the Village of Cooperstown and former Mobil Oil Corporation Executive Vice President, who said, “New York has wasted years hoping that gas drilling would bail out the economy. That is not going to happen. It is time for New York to make a serious commitment to installing our own renewable energy supply systems and to find a way to lead in the manufacture and export renewable energy components and equipment.”

The resolutions point to increasing evidence of water contamination, air pollution and a range of other health and environmental harms from fracking. They also note that the oil and gas industry’s economic and jobs projections from fracking have been significantly exaggerated, and that fracking poses some potentially significant economic costs including road damage, property value declines, and increased crime rates and social impacts.

In contrast, the resolutions point to the bright opportunities presented by investment and growth in renewable energy, noting the municipalities’ eagerness to advance such initiatives. For example, the resolutions note the growing success of the New York Sun initiative, growth in electric vehicle charging stations and growing potential for new energy efficiency programs.

Syracuse City Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner said, “Given critical and alarming data emerging each week, it’s clear from the existing science that fracking poses a very real danger to our health and water. That’s why we feel so strongly that the state must maintain the moratorium until and unless comprehensive, cumulative studies are completed and it’s proven that fracking can be done safely. To date, there’s only significant evidence to the contrary.”

New Paltz Town Supervisor Susan Zimet said, “We see clearly the importance of creating a thriving renewable energy future, and New York State is poised to invest in renewables and become a leader in the nation, creating good, long-term jobs for our youth here at home.”

Former Albany City Councilmember Dominick Calsolaro said, “Albany is thrilled to have passed the resolution. Issues such as air pollution from fracking are very serious, and the best data only lead us to conclude that fracking would put our health at risk. So long as that is the case, let’s not do it. Instead, let’s do for New York State with renewable energy and efficiency what we’ve done for this area with nanoscale technology – create a hub of research and innovative companies and jobs.”

Greg Young, City of Gloversville Supervisor, noted the contrast between potential jobs from fracking versus significant investment and subsequent growth in jobs in renewable energy, “Fracking job numbers don’t hold up in reality and they largely go to out-of-state workers, and drilling and fracking jobs have proven themselves to be deadly. In contrast, with renewable energy, we can utilize our strong research universities to create opportunities for our youth here in New York and bring innovative companies into our state – particularly as solar, wind and efficiency technologies make such tremendous strides.

Of note, independent analyses have found that fracking job numbers are exaggerated, a recent investigation found high rates of mortality and severe injury, and OSHA and NIOSH have issued hazard alert warnings for workers given dangerous exposure to silica sand and dust.

Town of Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman said, “New York’s strength lies in our agriculture, tourism, small businesses, breweries and wineries, and high quality of life tied to real estate values. Advancing renewable energy builds on these assets, which we should and must do.”






References for studies and examples discussed during the press conference:
Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies: Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy. “PSE STUDY CITATION DATABASE on Shale Gas & Tight Oil Development.” Last accesses April 21, 2014. <http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/view/1180>

Gas industry economic projections greatly exaggerated: Waldman, Scott. “Study: Pro-fracking job numbers are greatly ‘exaggerated’.” Capital New York. November 21, 2013. <http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2013/11/8536444/study-pro-fracking-job-numbers-are-greatly-exaggerated>

New York State Medical Society supports moratorium: Campbell, Jon. “Fracking roundup: Gas prices up; Medical Society wants moratorium.” POLITICS ON THE HUDSON. April 17, 2013. <http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2013/04/17/fracking-roundup-gas-prices-up-medical-society-wants-moratorium/>

American Academy of Pediatrics of New York and American Lung Association in New York support for moratorium: Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “Letter’s Signatories Call for NY State-Specific Health Impact Assessment and Public Participation in Health Review Process.” February 27, 2013. <http://concernedhealthny.org/health-professionals-national-and-statewide-leaders-applaud-gov-cuomos-fracking-time-out-urge-gov-to-await-fracking-public-health-studies-conclusions-before-making-decision/>

Albany Times Union editorial urges caution on fracking: Times Union Editorial Board. “Caution on fracking wise.” Albany Times Union. April 18, 2014. <http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/caution-on-fracking-wise/28695/>

British Medical Journal editorial urges caution on fracking: Law, Adam et al. “Public Health England’s draft report on shale gas extraction.” British Medical Journal. April 17, 2014. <http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2728>

Ohio DNR links fracking to earthquakes: Gilbert, Daniel and Alison Sider. “Ohio Geologists Link Fracking With Earthquakes.” Wall Street Journal. April 11, 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304058204579495680993322924>

Earthquakes and fracking link in Oklahoma: Fountain, Henry. “Experts Eye Oil and Gas Industry as Quakes Shake Oklahoma.” NEW YORK TIMES. December 12, 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/science/earth/as-quakes-shake-oklahoma-scientists-eye-oil-and-gas-industry.html>

Fracking linked to earthquakes in the United Kingdom: Vukmanovic, Oleg. “UK firm says shale fracking caused earthquakes.” REUTERS. November 2, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/02/us-gas-fracking-idUSTRE7A160020111102.

Fracking linked to earthquakes in Canada: “Fracking causes minor earthquakes, B.C. regulator says.” THE CANADIAN PRESS. September 6, 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fracking-causes-minor-earthquakes-b-c-regulator-says-1.1209063>

Fracking linked to earthquakes in Mexico: Godoy, Emilio. “Fracking, Seismic Activity Grow Hand in Hand in Mexico.” International Press Service. April 3, 2014. <http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/04/fracking-seismic-activity-grow-hand-hand-mexico/>

Oklahoma 5.7 magnitude earthquake from fracking injection wells: “Wastewater Injection Spurred Biggest Earthquake Yet, Says Study.” The Earth Institute Columbia University. March 36, 2013. <http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/3072>

Duke University 2013 study showing water contamination: Robert B. Jackson et al. “Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. June 3, 2013. <http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/06/19/1221635110>

Duke University 2011 study showing water contamination: Stephen G. Osborn et al. “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. April 14, 2011. <https://nicholas.duke.edu/cgc/pnas2011.pdf>

Benzene in the air at fracking sites in West Virginia: Junkins, Casey. “Health Dept. Concerned About Benzene Emissions Near Local Gas Drilling Sites.” The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register. December 10, 2013. <http://www.theintelligencer.net/page/content.detail/id/593209/Health-Dept–Concerned-About-Benzene-Emissions-Near-Local-Gas-Drilling>

Benzene in the air in fracking sites in Utah: Lockwood, Deirdre. “Harmful Air Pollutants Build Up Near Oil And Gas Fields.” Chemical & Engineering News. March 25, 2014. <http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/03/Harmful-Air-Pollutants-Build-Near.html>

Investigation finding air pollution and sick residents and sick residents in Texas: Morris, Jim, Lisa Song and Havid Hasemyer. “Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale.” The Weather Channel. February 18, 2014. <http://stories.weather.com/fracking>

Up to $10,000 damage to state roads alone per fracking well: Cusick, Marie. “Report finds each Marcellus gas well costs thousands in road damage.” StateImpact NPR. March 27, 2014. <http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/03/27/report-finds-each-marcellus-gas-well-costs-thousands-in-road-damage/>

Data showing increases in crime in Pennsylvania: Gibbons, Brendan. “Environmental groups calculate societal cost of natural gas boom.” The Times-=Tribune. September 25, 2013. <http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/environmental-groups-calculate-social-cost-of-natural-gas-boom-1.1558186>

Data showing increases in crime in Montana and North Dakota: Healy, Jack. “As Oil Floods Plains Towns, Crime Pours In.” New York Times. November 30, 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/us/as-oil-floods-plains-towns-crime-pours-in.html>

Housing values decline up to 22.4 percent: Muehlenbachs, Lucija, Elisheba Spiller and Christopher Timmins. “The Housing Market Impacts of Shale Gas Development.” The National Bureau of Economic Research. January, 2014. http://www.nber.org/papers/w19796

Study about New York’s shale reserves: Berman, Arthur and Lyndon Pittinger. “Resource Assessment of Potentially Producible Natural Gas Volumes From the Marcellus Shale, State of New York.” Prepared for the League of Women Voters of New York State. April 10, 2014. <http://lwvny.org/advocacy/natural-resources/hydrofracking/2014/Marcellus-Resource-Assessment-NY_0414pdf.pdf>

New Paltz one of 13 towns for EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management program: Moses, Clarissa. “New Paltz Chosen For EPA Sustainable Program.” The New Paltz Oracle. April 19, 2012. <http://oracle.newpaltz.edu/new-paltz-chosen-for-epa-sustainable-program/>

Fracking jobs tend to be short-term:  Barth, Jannette. “The Economic Impact of Shale Gas Development on State and Local Economies: Benefits, Costs and Uncertainties.” NEW SOLUTIONS. February, 2013. Vol. 23(1) 85-101.

Fracking air impacts at Utah sites equivalent to 100 million cars: Lockwood, Deirdre. “Harmful Air Pollutants Build Up Near Oil And Gas Fields.” Chemical & Engineering News. March 25, 2014. <http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/03/Harmful-Air-Pollutants-Build-Near.html>

American Lung Association data showing bad air quality: Grossman, Dan. “Clean Air Report Card: CO, WY Counties Get F’s Due To Oil And Gas Pollution.” Environmental Defense Fund, April 29, 2013. <http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2013/04/29/clean-air-report-card-co-wy-counties-get-fs-due-to-oil-and-gas-pollution/>

Fracking, drilling jobs are dangerous, high number of fatalities: Hsieh, Steven. “Why Are So Many Workers Dying in Oil Fields?” The Nation. February 25, 2014. <http://www.thenation.com/blog/178523/why-are-so-many-workers-dying-oil-fields#>

OSHA and NIOSH Hazard Alert to fracking workers due to silica dust: “Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. <https://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html>

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