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April 17, 2014
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DRBC session on gas regs draws crowd


Town of Highland representative Andrew Boyar said, “We’re talking about a wild and scenic river designation that was adopted by Congress, and we operate here pursuant to a River Management Plan (RMP). Was the RMP considered in the development of your regulations? Is a 500-foot setback from the river adequate to protect that federal designation?”
“We considered the designation when we did our regs,” replied Muszynski. “I’m sure that we’ll be getting comments from the federal agencies.”

Boyar continued, “It [the RMP] creates a river corridor and it says that industrial uses are prohibited.”
“Then that should be your comments back to us,” replied Muszynski.

On the topic of wastewater treatment, Muszynski confirmed that there are no existing qualified facilities within the river basin, so wastewater would have to be transported to an approved facility.

Rubin asked, “What assurances does the homeowner whose well becomes impacted have, that he won’t personally have to pay all the fees to test the water or fight the gas companies by himself?”

“Right now, there are no 100% assurances,” said Muszynski. “We would have to look at that location. If it’s detected that there’s something going on, the executive director would issue an order on what action must be taken. If they don’t take that action, we can try to take their instrument, or go to federal court. “

Town of Tusten representative Tony Ritter read from the Hazen and Sawyer report prepared for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection: “Widespread hydraulic fracking will permanently and irreversibly compromise the significant geological formation that presently constitutes parts of the subsurface system that isolates near-surface freshwater flow regimes from non-potable highly saline waters in deeper formations.” Ritter then asked for comment.

Engle responded, “There’s some calculated risk for any activity you take on. Other reports show very decent mathematical and scientific calculations that demonstrate to me that it’s highly unlikely.”

In response to concerns about long-term well safety, Muszynski replied, “That is a question that should be directed to the state agencies that we are relying on for the construction and integrity of these wells.”