To the Editor:
As regulators weigh the benefits of drilling 40,000 gas wells across New York State, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s scant analysis of fracking’s potential costs overstates job benefits and omits state Transportation Department estimates of road maintenance costs exceeding $375 million.
Numerous studies show that drill-friendly communities underperform their neighbors in income, employment, education and investment. The D.E.C. now admits that its review was inadequate. Worse, the department completely ignores fracking’s health effects despite compelling evidence from Texas of asthma levels three times higher in areas affected by fracking.
Pennsylvanians are sick from arsenic, benzene and toluene from nearby fracking wells. Two hundred fifty medical professionals petitioned New York State last year for a health assessment and received no response. The director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Christopher Portier, recently urged, “More research is needed for us to understand public health impacts from natural gas drilling and new gas drilling technologies.”
It is an unwise gamble for New York State to make its fracking decision without the facts.
White Plains, March 23, 2012
The writers are presidents of, respectively, the Waterkeeper Alliance and Hudson Riverkeeper.