Factors the dGEIS should assess
The mitigations identified in the dGEIS should be realistic. For example, identifying use of electric or natural gas powered vehicles to mitigate noise is not a feasible substitute for diesel trucks. Increasing setbacks is also identified as a mitigation, when in most instances what will be permitted is widening of roads, thereby decreasing setbacks between roads and homes or businesses.
Calling for an adequate dGEIS is not an attempt to undermine the process or to obtain gas drilling regulations by subterfuge. I am a resident of Cochecton, and given the Millennium Pipeline debacle, I understand the need to protect towns from the predatory practices of some industries. At the same time, I believe that the road use law can do more than protect towns from the financial burdens resulting from road upgrades and repairs. The road use law can also protect towns from the other costs associated with the alteration of our rural roads for the profit of high intensity industrial activities. For example, the road use law should contain provisions for prohibiting high-volume, high-weight truck traffic on roads where adequate mitigation of the impacts is not possible. A dGEIS with a thorough examination of the impacts of the law and including realistic and viable mitigations would make that clear.
[Jane M. Roth is a resident of Cochecton, NY.]