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Letter to Senator Bonacic on hydrofracking bill

September 8, 2011

I read a recent news article in the local River Reporter about proposed legislation by Senator Greg Ball that will toughen standards for hydrofracking in New York State following his experience of visiting areas in Pennsylvania. I have very deep concerns about the safety and

safeguards of this activity as the rules are being proposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The DEC has not always had a good record in regards to policing or monitoring serious situations. I’ll mention the closed Barnes Landfill in the Town of Highland as one example. Monitoring of the leachate discharge from site was done regularly for many years, and the results were shared with the Upper Delaware Council. When the reports stopped, the reason given was that the fund paying for this monitoring had run out of money. Neither manpower nor lack of money nor lack of will should be allowed to interfere with the responsibility to safeguard the publics’ health. Could this also happen with gas drilling monitoring and/or enforcement?

As reported in the paper, “among the proposals in the bill are mandatory full disclosure of all chemicals and compounds used by drilling companies; mandatory water and soil testing by an official governmental third party for presence of chemicals used by the fracturing process prior to drilling: a requirement that all fracking companies sign a Presumption of Causation Agreement with the state; mandatory reimbursement to property owners by negligent fracking companies for 150% of the real estate’s market value of property, based on estimates prior to drilling, and 100% of the cost for full remediation of soil and water; and allowing governments to enact or enforce certain laws and ordinances relating to oil , gas and solution mining (affirmation of home rule).”

I would urge that you actively support this legislation. It is vitally important that local communities retain their traditional home rule authority. Let the local towns decide legally, without any “gray” area; when, where and if gas drilling is right for the community.

Larry H. Richardson
Cochecton, NY