As Governor Cuomo nears a decision on drilling, 15 lawmakers from Sullivan County join with over 420 elected officials across the state in asking the governor why concerns from local officials from 50 counties have not been answered or addressed.
Monticello – This week, 15 elected officials from Sullivan County called on Governor Cuomo to protect New Yorkers by keeping in place the state’s moratorium on high volume fracking.
The 15 leaders join the more than 420 other local elected officials from 50 counties all across the state who have signed a letter to Governor Cuomo that reads in part: “ As elected officials from across New York State, we share with you the responsibility to protect the health and safety of our people across our state. Although the geographic area where drilling may occur may be limited, the impacts will be felt across the state. Until the facts and the science prove that horizontal hydraulic fracturing is safe, New York’s de facto moratorium must remain in place.”
The Governor is considering allowing fracking in some parts of the state although the Department of Environmental Conservation has not fully studied the health, environmental, and economic impacts associated with the process. Sullivan County Legislator Cindy Kurpil Gieger said, “Pumping millions of gallons of poisonous fluid into the ground is inherently dangerous. It does not make sense to permit this activity without first examining the impact it will have on our drinking water supplies and our health.”
The officials are also seeking a revised and thorough study of the socioeconomic impacts shale gas extraction will have on our communities. Dan Sturm is Supervisor of the Town of Bethel, site of the original Woodstock Festival and home to Bethel Woods performing arts center, has said, “Tourism is one of the lifebloods of the Sullivan County economy. If dangerous and polluting industrial activity drives away tourists, our economy will be devastated.”
Bethel is one of five Sullivan County towns that have passed ordinances to prohibit fracking. Lumberland Supervisor Nadia Rajsz expressed concern that drilling activity could saddle local municipalities with the cost of paying for road and bridge repair and enhanced first responder capabilities.
The letter to the governor was drafted by Elected Officials to Protect New York, a nonpartisan group representing officials from municipalities and counties throughout the state. “The impacts of fracking cross municipal boundaries and political parties, which is why we’ve seen such an overwhelming and bipartisan response in support of this initiative “ said Town of Caroline Councilmember Dominic Frongillo, one of the founders of the organization.
The Sullivan County officials who signed the letter are:
Cindy Kurpil Gieger, Sullivan County Legislator
Kitty Vetter, Sullivan County Legislator
Dan Sturm, Town of Bethel Supervisor
Bernard Cohen, Bethel Town Councilmember
Robert Blais, Bethel Town Councilmember
Denise Frangipane, Bethel Town Councilmember
Victoria Simpson, Bethel Town Councilmember
Andrew Boyar, Highland Town Supervisor
Frederick Bosch, Highland Town Councilmember
Nadia Rajsz, Lumberland Town Supervisor
Carol Ropke Wingert, Tusten Town Supervisor
Eileen Falk, Tusten Town Councilmember
Norman Meyer, Tusten Town Councilmember
Andrea Reynosa, Tusten Town Councilmember
Tony Ritter, Tusten Town Councilmember
Local elected officials can sign the statement at www.nyelectedofficials.org