Officials Suggest Gas Drilling Technique is Safe, Then Acknowledge Lack of Evidence
In two documents released last October and earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Conservation declared that it “does not…find a significant environmental impact associated with [hydraulic fracturing], which has been in use in New York State for at least 50 years.”
Yet when EWG sent a FOIL request asking the DEC to disclose details of tests of surface and underground waters for contamination by hydraulic fracturing chemicals, department officials responded that “the division of Mineral Resources does not maintain any records which are responsive to your request.” EWG senior analyst Dusty Horwitt placed a follow-up telephone call to a state official, who confirmed that the state had done no testing and had no test results.
“The Department of Environmental Conservation violates the public’s trust when it says that hydrofracing is safe for the environment,” Horwitt said. “New York’s taxpayers and property owners have a right to know exactly what happens when tons of water laced with carcinogens and other toxics are blasted into the earth near their water supplies. Whether out of ignorance or deceit, the DEC’s policy amounts to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”
EWG recommends that New York state authorities reject applications for hydrofracing permits until natural gas companies have publicly disclosed the chemicals they plan to use and until the state has conducted tests on whether past instances of hydraulic fracturing have contaminated New York water supplies. The state should also obtain reliable tests from hydrofracing operations similar to those contemplated for New York, to determine whether those operations contaminated water supplies.
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