Wednesday, July 4, 2012

                                         Leaked documents show counties have fracking concerns

                                                       8:52 PM, Jun. 29, 2012

                                                      Written by
                                                      Jon Campbell
ALBANY -- In January, two groups representing county health departments prepared separate reports on the burden natural-gas drilling could place on their operations, expressing concern about the state's ongoing review of hydraulic fracturing.
The reports were prepared for the state's High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, an 18-member board of outside environmentalists, lawmakers and industry experts formed last year to advise the Department of Environmental Conservation on financial and resource issues associated with hydrofracking.
But shortly after the documents were submitted to the DEC and a day before they were supposed to be unveiled, the panel meeting was abruptly canceled. The advisory board hasn't met since and has been placed on hiatus as the DEC continues its regulatory and environmental review of the gas-extraction process.
The "program proposed by the (DEC) is inadequate to protect public health and to detect and remediate contamination of drinking water aquifers," according to the report prepared by the NYS Conference of Environmental Health Directors.
The two documents -- the other prepared by the state Association of County Health Officials, known as NYSACHO -- were never distributed to the DEC's advisory board, nor were they formally released to the public. Earlier this year, they were obtained by anti-fracking group Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and quietly posted on its website.