March 27, 2012 —
Coalition launches campaign to ban hydro-fracking in NY
Joining forces in a coordinated campaign announced in Albany, NY earlier this week, dozens of grassroots environmental groups announced their intention to see natural gas development using hydraulic fracturing banned in New York State. As the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes its 4-year review, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has predicted that a decision regarding hydro-fracking is likely in the near future. The coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking, will receive support from biologist and author, Sandra Steingraber, who recently won the Heinz Award for her work on the impacts of chemical contaminants in air, water and food on human health. Steingraber plans to donate much of her $100,000 prize to start the coalition, beginning with targeted advertising which was set to air on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report this week.
Health impact study eliminated from NY state budget
One of the items dropped during New York state budget negotiations is a comprehensive health study proposed by the New York State Assembly to explore the impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on human health. While the NY Department of Environmental Conservation claims to have considered such impacts in drafting its regulations of hydrofracking, heavy criticism has been directed at the agency for not including a comprehensive health impact study during its review. Criticism was also leveled by a newly formed coalition of environmental groups (see above) at Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for blocking the $100,000 Assembly appropriation for the health study.
Citizen Stream Monitoring Workshop set in Narrowsburg, NY
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) will provide free hands-on training in stream testing protocols to citizens willing to become part of a corps of volunteers in the Delaware River Watershed collecting field data for streams threatened by natural gas drilling, pipelines and other threats associated with these industrial practices. Data collected is used to testify and comment about the conditions of Delaware River tributaries to petition for stronger protections of streams in the region. No prior experience is necessary. Trained volunteers willing to adopt a stream location to monitor will be able to borrow DRN monitoring equipment for free. The workshop is scheduled for April 21 at the Tusten Town Hall, 210 Bridge Street in Narrowsburg, NY, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monitoring equipment and space is limited. Volunteers should live in the Upper or Middle Delaware River region (areas north of the Delaware Water Gap). Sign up by contacting Faith Zerbe at firstname.lastname@example.org  or 215/369.1188 x110.