Elected Officials to Protect New York Firmly Calls for Extended Moratorium on Fracking in New Letter to Governor Cuomo from 140+ Officials
Following Cuomo Announcement that Fracking Decision Coming at End of Year, Elected Officials Release Letter at Syracuse Press Conference: Scientific Evidence, Serious Risks Demonstrate the Imperative of Minimum Three to Five Year Moratorium
Syracuse – The statewide non-partisan group of more than 850 elected officials from all 62 counties, Elected Officials to Protect New York (EOPNY), held a press conference today in the Syracuse Common Council chambers to release a new letter calling on Governor Cuomo to enact a minimum three to five year moratorium on fracking; an imperative given current and emerging science showing serious risks and harms of drilling and fracking. On behalf of EOPNY, the letter is signed by more than 140 elected officials from across New York. It comes the day after Governor Cuomo announced that a clear decision on fracking will come by the end of this month. The letter summarizes what has been learned about fracking since the group’s formation in 2012, outlining key areas of concern about negative impacts to public health, the environment, socioeconomic issues, increasing evidence that drilling and fracking exacerbate climate change, and speaking to the need for cumulative, comprehensive studies.
The letter notes, “What has happened – what have we learned – since 2012? The current “health review” notwithstanding, the necessary studies have not been done and the standard of safety for all of New York has clearly not been met.”
Pointing to a range of concerning trends in the scientific evidence, the letter states, “Hundreds of health professionals, scientists, and numerous medical societies have reviewed the science, and based on that review, have asked for a firm moratorium of at least three to five years. We strongly ‘second’ this motion and believe anything less would be negligent.”
The letter explains that Elected Officials to Protect New York formed in 2012 with the request to Governor Cuomo for comprehensive, cumulative studies about the full scope of the health impacts of fracking, the environmental impacts, and the potential negative as well as positive socioeconomic impacts. It notes that those studies have not been done, and questions about the true costs versus benefits have not been answered.
The letter concludes, “Governor Cuomo, we acknowledge and appreciate the restraint and caution you have shown thus far. Given your vow to protect the water and ensure the health of all New Yorkers, a longer term moratorium is the right path to take.”
The press conference was attended by a group of Syracuse-area elected officials, as well as elected official from other regions. Additionally, elected officials from other parts of the state sent statements in support.
At the press conference, Julie Huntsman, D.V.M., co-coordinator of Elected Officials to Protect New York and Town of Otsego Councilmember, said, “Elected Officials to Protect New York urges Governor Cuomo to enact a minimum three to five year moratorium on fracking, which science shows us is necessary to protect New Yorkers’ water and health. With hundreds of studies finding water contamination, dangerous air pollution, earthquakes, health impacts, and more, a long term moratorium is imperative.”
Jean Kessner, Syracuse City Councilor At-Large, co-coordinator of Elected Officials to Protect New York, said at the press conference, “We share a sacred responsibility with Governor Cuomo to protect the health and wellbeing of our constituents, which is why we’re calling for a minimum three to five year moratorium on fracking as the science demands. We all depend on clean water, clean air, and a clean environment for our health and economy. Let’s make sure New York stays that way.”
New York State’s health and scientific community has pointed to a significant and rapidly growing body of evidence showing risks and harms of fracking, and have urged a minimum three to five year moratorium on fracking. Notably, the independent experts group Concerned Health Professionals of New York just released the second edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, a 103 page summary of the evidence with 448 citations.
Elected Officials to Protect New York has also promoted the need for and opportunities of renewable energy, and has spoken to the benefits of New York State embracing renewables. A number of municipalities across the state have passed an EOPNY template resolution in support of renewable energy and efficiency.
Gregory Young, City of Gloversville Fifth Ward Supervisor, said at the press conference, “Results from Pennsylvania have shown jobs claims are exaggerated and largely go to out of state workers. Our state needs the good jobs and lasting sustainability of renewable energy. These good jobs can plug the ‘brain drain’ and keep talented young people in all of our states’ communities.”
Elizabeth Thomas, Town of Ulysses Supervisor, sent a statement, “Innovation and infrastructure need to aim at technologies that will lead not only New York, but the planet with a future that preserves its clean air and water while also reducing our impact on climate. I support Elected Officials to Protect New York and call for an extension of the moratorium on hydrofracking in New York.”
Carl Chipman, Town of Rochester Supervisor, sent a statement, “The old adage ‘time will tell’ applies to the study of the impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing. Governor Cuomo wisely called for additional studies of the impacts of fracking a few years ago and continued the moratorium on fracking in New York. Since then scientific evidence has been garnered which substantiates concerns about the negative impacts of fracking on our health, our environment, and our economy. I implore Gov. Cuomo to at the very minimum to extend the moratorium for another 3 to 5 years as more and more data is being collected and reviewed.”
Lou Allstadt, Village of Cooperstown Trustee, sent a statement, “Virtually all of the early concerns about fracking have now been documented in peer reviewed studies. Those peer reviewed studies are now being published at the rate of almost one per day, and the vast majority point to serious problems with fracking, as well as with the whole infrastructure that supports fracking.”
Don Barber, Town of Caroline Supervisor, sent a statement, “The fracking debate has been more about perceptions than fact. Truly objective science, not paid for by entities expecting a desired outcome, shows tremendous risks associated with the site development, fracking process, and movement of materials. Risks, borne by the general community, while financial rewards go to a few. Overriding the fracking debate are exponentially increasing number and severity of extreme climate events. Governor, rather than assessing fracking’s risks to our citizens, we need your focus on a Fossil Fuel Free Energy Policy.”
Susan Zimet, Town of New Paltz Supervisor, said, “When the NY Senate voted back in the summer of 2010 to put a fracking moratorium in place in a special session of the Legislature, calls from the press came in from as far away as Australia! The world was paying attention and still is. New York State has shown true leadership in protecting the people of this great State. However, the day the first fracking drill hits the ground, game over! The health and safety of New Yorker’s and the beauty of our State needs to be protected at all costs. Governor Cuomo is the right person at the right time to be the hero we are looking for.”
Elected Officials to Protect New York is a non-partisan network of more than 850 New York elected officials from all 62 counties. The network formed in June of 2012, calling on Governor Cuomo not to permit fracking in New York State until and unless it can be proven safe, and calling for comprehensive, cumulative health impact, environmental, and economic studies. The network has grown quickly, and has written a number of letters to the Governor, his Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health.