Press Release

Gillibrand Calls For Extended Public Comment Period On Marcellus Shale Drilling

Oct 15, 2009


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public
Works Committee, today called for an extended public comment period on the
natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. New York State released their
Environmental Impact Statement late last month and will begin a series of
public meetings on October 28. Currently, New York State is only providing two
months for public comment. Due to the significance and complexity of this issue
and the high degree of public interest in hydraulic fracturing, Senator
Gillibrand is urging New York State to extend the public comment period to 90

Marcellus Shale represents a tremendous economic opportunity for New York, and
I commend DEC for recognizing the importance of harvesting and producing new
sources of energy to address the growing need for energy throughout the state.
 However, our quest for new sources of energy and potential economic
growth should not come at the expense of good, clean air and safe drinking water
for all New Yorkers,” Senator Gillibrand wrote in her letter to New York
Governor David Paterson. “New York has an abundant supply of fresh, clean
water, and we must learn from the accidents that other states have already
experienced to avoid damage to our own precious natural resources.”

Hydraulic fracturing, a common
technique used for drilling oil and gas wells, is a process where fluids are
injected at high pressure into underground rock formations to blast them open
and increase the flow of fossil fuels. Fracking is used to drill for natural
gas from Marcellus Shale in other states.  The injections use a mixture of
water and sand, along with a cocktail of chemicals including diesel fuel,
benzene, industrial solvents and other carcinogens and endocrine disrupters.
There have been numerous incidents of well water contamination and spills
related to fracking operations in other states.

to the significance and complexity of this issue and the high degree of public
interest in hydraulic fracturing, Senator Gillibrand is urging New York State
to extend the public comment period to 90 days. She also called on the State to
hold hearings and solicit comments in each of New York’s major cities, as well
as communities directly within affected watersheds. Senator Gillibrand
believes these public hearings are critical to allowing the public an outlet to
provide meaningful comments, and to express concerns and suggestions.

addition, Senator Gillibrand is working with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) on the Fracturing
Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act
, which would repeal a
Bush Administration exemption provided for the oil and gas industry and would
require them to disclose the chemicals they use in their hydraulic fracturing
processes. Currently, the oil and gas industry is the only industry granted an
exemption from complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Without additional
federal protections, New York State would be solely responsible to handle
potential adverse impacts associated with high volume hydraulic fracturing in
the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. Congressman Maurice Hinchey is the
sponsor of the House version of this bill.

The FRAC Act is supported by
the following organizations:

New York State
Binghamton Regional
Sustainability Coalition

Catskill Citizens for Safe

Catskill Mountainkeeper

Citizens Campaign for the

Environment New York

Environmental Advocates of
New York

Hudson Highlands Land Trust

Hudson Riverkeeper

New Yorkers for Sustainable
Energy Statewide

Northeast Organic Farming

Association of New York, Inc.


Orange County Land Trust,
Orange Environment, Inc.


Putnam County Coalition to
Preserve Open Space

Scenic Hudson


The Ramapo River Watershed Intermunicipal

Theodore Gordon Flyfishers,

Regional Organizations
Appalachian Mountain Club

Atlantic States Legal
Foundation, Inc.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Delaware River Greenway

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Highlands Coalition

Housatonic Valley Association

National Organizations
American Rivers

Center for Food Safety


Earthworks/Oil and Gas
Accountability Project

Environment America

Environmental Working Group

Food & Water Watch

International Center for
Technology Assessment

National Alliance for Drilling

National Audubon Society

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense

Public Citizen’s Energy Program

Rural Community Assistance
Partnership, Inc.

The Wilderness Society

Waterkeeper Alliance