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Assembly Democrats to Cuomo: stop rushing fracking research

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- If Gov. Andrew Cuomo thought 2013 would get off to as carefree a start as the previous two legislative sessions, along comes this rather sharply worded letter from three Assembly committee chairs over the natural gas fracking issue.

The letter from the three Democratic lawmakers comes at a time when Senate Republicans have refused to give Cuomo the quick political victory he wanted with new gun restrictions in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings.

Here is the letter issued this afternoon by the three Assembly chairs to the commissioners of the state environmental conservation and health departments. It rather directly accuses the Cuomo administration of reaching conclusions on fracking before proper research is completed. 

 

 

ROBERT SWEENEY

COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

625 LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING

ALBANY, NY 12248

[email protected]

RICHARD N. GOTTFRIED

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH

822 LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING

ALBANY, NY 12248

[email protected]

CHARLES LAVINE

ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION REVIEW COMMISSION

441 LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING

ALBANY, NY 12248

[email protected]

 

                                                                                                January 8, 2013

  

Joseph Martens, Commissioner

Department of Environmental Conservation

625 Broadway

Albany, NY 12207

 

Nirav Shah, MD, Commissioner

Department of Health

Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza

Albany, NY 12237                                                                                                          

 

Dear Commissioner Martens and Commissioner Shah:

               

                We call on the administration to suspend the public comment period for the proposed revised regulations of high volume hydraulic fracturing until the state discloses all of its studies and analyses of fracking, as has been demanded under the Freedom of Information Law, and a thorough health impact review is completed and published.

 

                In addition, the departments have been invited to appear at the Assembly hearing on January 10. We request that the departments bring all books, papers, and items including information provided to the consultants, which the agency has in its possession, custody or control concerning the potential health impacts of natural gas drilling, including high volume hydraulic fracturing.

 

                Press reports have disclosed that the state administration produced an evaluation of fracking that claims it would cause no harm to human health. We are concerned that this evaluation reflects the thinking of people who are helping shape the administration's decision on fracking. The evaluation suggests that conclusions have been drawn before research is conducted. There is evidence that suggests there is a potential for real danger. The document released to the press does not review what might happen if something goes wrong - which has been known to happen in other states.  

 

                The administration is receiving public comments on its proposed regulations on fracking. The comment period ends on Friday, January 11, 2013. The Department of Health is still reviewing the health impacts of fracking, although the extent of that review is not clear, and the FOIL demands for disclosure of studies and data have not yet been fulfilled.

 

                If the public is to provide meaningful comment on the proposed regulations, the public should be able to see the studies and analysis that were produced at public expense.

 

                                                         Very truly yours,

 

Robert Sweeney                              Richard N. Gottfried                      Charles Lavine

 

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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