Take Action to Save State Forests


Take Action!

(1) Submit Written Comments on Gas Drilling in Shindagin Hollow and Danby State Forests
(2) Sign ROUSE’s Statement to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Statewide
(3) Sign Town of Caroline Petition Asking Town Board to Ban HF within the Town of Caroline
(4) Medical Professionals Sign-On Letter Opposing High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing
(5) Protest DEC’s Sacrificing of Upstate Water in Favor of Syracuse and NYC Watersheds
(6) Sign a Petition to Ban Shale Gas Drilling in New York State

Also check out the Action Steps at these websites:  NYRAD  Toxics Targeting

NOTE: The handouts on key shale gas drilling topics are now “Fact Sheets” on the “Links to Resources” page, under “Basic Gas Drilling Information.” Click here for a direct link.

(1) Submit Comments on DEC’s Forest Management
Plan that Allows Gas Drilling in Shindagin Hollow
and Danby State Forests

This is very important because it affects the future of state forests in our backyards!  Comments at the public hearing were unanimously opposed to allowing HVHF in state forests.  Now we must build on that by submitting written comments.

Please:  submit written comments (by May 14, 2011, see details below—they can be short!!!)

The Bottom Line:
Below is much information on the documents and commenting, all optional. You would be helping this cause to simply say that you don’t want leasing for gas or oil drilling in Shindagin and Danby State Forests (the “Rapid Waters Management Unit”) because you think the other uses of these forests are more important (list some), and mineral extraction will detract from these uses (you can say in what way). Links to sample comments plus a suit against DEC to force it to remove HVHF as an option in state forests are given below—we will be adding to this list as we receive comments and permission to post them.

In this fight, number of commenters on each side counts. The notice went out on landowner coalition listservs, whose members presumably will be commenting in favor of drilling in these forests

Written Comments: (by email or snail mail)
When:       By May 14, 2011 (NOTE: A week later than posted previously)
Where:     To John Clancy
(Senior Forester, Region 7, and principal author of the management plan)
NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests
Attn: John Clancy, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland, NY 13045-1090

The Details:
The DEC is developing management plans for state forests, and the draft plan for our area, including Shindagin Hollow State Forest and Danby State Forest, allows “exploration and development of oil and natural gas resources within the Unit’s State Forests.”

Last time the DEC came up with a plan to lease Shindagin (in 2006), public comment opposing it convinced them to NOT lease! This time, the stakes are higher, as gas drilling is more likely. If the forests are leased, our area might be more attractive to drilling companies, and more people might be affected by compulsory integration.

We can stop this again if a LOT of people speak out and send in written comments.
Most important is to have many people opposed, rather than a few people writing long, detailed critiques. Comments can be kept short, although it’s certainly ok if they are longer and more detailed.

Note: this is the general plan allowing them to lease; if a particular area is considered for leasing, there will be another public hearing. But, it’s important to stop this now, before it gets to the next stage.


Suit Against the DEC

On May 3, 2011, The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition, Inc. (CWCWC) announced that they were suing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in New York State Supreme Court to declare high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State Forests contrary to the New York State Constitution and applicable environmental laws. Click here to see information on the lawsuit.


Sample Comments:

Sample Comments #1
John Confer


To see the Draft Management Plan: (the “Rapid Waters DRAFT Unit Management Plan”)

1) Go to the NYS DEC web site http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/72384.html
You can download the Plan in 4 parts from this web site.

2) Go to the Town of Danby web site http://town.danby.ny.us/Documents/RapidWatersMgmtPlan.pdf
The entire document is in one 13.3MB file.

Sections Discussing Gas Leasing/Drilling:
pp. 11-13: Gives an overview of nearby leasing in the past and present, and forest leasing in the future.
pp. 71-73: Objective 3.2: Accept Nominations to Lease Natural Gas Exploration and Development Rights while Protecting Sensitive Areas and Other Management Objectives. Tells how they plan to allow leasing.

Key Gas Drilling Provisions in Plan (pp. 71-73):

(1) Recommends drilling at 1 pad per 320 acres, but does not require this and leaves the door open for more dense drilling in the future.

(2) Sets up a hierarchy of areas within the forests, A, B, C, and D, according to their suitability for drilling. A = most suitable; D = no drilling. It says 56% of the area would be in category D if assessed today, but they don’t actually make any area assessments.

(3) Pipelines will NOT follow the hierarchy, so they could go anywhere DEC decides to allow them.

(4) New roads will be placed “in consideration of the hierarchy,” but at DEC’s discretion.

(5) pp. 119-120 give setbacks for surface disturbance from mineral extraction: 250′ from streams, wetlands, ponds, lakes, seeps, vernal pools (high water line), and recreation trails.


Info from the last round, in 2006, when leasing was shot down:

►There are insights to be gained by looking at what the Public and DEC said then, and also
you can get many good ideas of what to put in your comments:

The document Response to Public Comments: 2006 State Land Lease Sale discusses the leasing and public input process, and describes and lists the different types of comments made on both sides and responds to them. Definitely worth a skim!

For a few key notes on the 2006 Response to Public Comments document, click here.

For selected excerpts from the 2006 Response to Public Comments document, click here.


The following are listed as “stewards” of the 2 forests, in the management plan:

AANR Volunteer Stewards State Forest
Bethel Grove Bible Church Shindagin Hollow
Candor Valley Riders Snowmobile Club Shindagin Hollow
Cayuga Trails Club Danby and Shindagin Hollow
Cycle-CNY Shindagin Trail Committee Shindagin Hollow
Finger Lakes Trail Conference Danby and Shindagin Hollow
Friends of Bald Hill Danby
Spencer-Van Etten Snowbmobile Club Danby

If you know someone in one of these groups, please contact them and see if they oppose leasing and are willing to mobilize their group to help protect the forests from drilling.

To protect our local forests, we must come out in force at the April 14th meeting.



http://www.tcgasmap.org/media/State Forest Leasing DEC Mtg Notice 4-11.pdf


Comments from Others on the 2010 NYS State Forest Management Plan:
(In late 2010, comments were accepted on this statewide document. Here are comments from Barbara Lifton, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the Town of Danby, and others, including why gas drilling should not be done in Shindagin and Danby. The same points could be made now. See first item at this link.)

http://www.tcgasmap.org/default.asp?metatags_Action=Find(‘PID’,’49’)#Effects on Forests and Wildlife


Info on the Impacts of Gas Drilling on Forests and Wildlife:

Effects of Drilling on Wildlife, Forests, and Streams:
The following link is to a new “in press” section of the TCgasmap primer that is not yet on the web. It’s a summary of the most important info on this topic, and contains numerous references. (Ignore underlined links to other sections of the web page for now!)

http://www.tcgasmap.org/media/Wildlife Impacts for State Forest Commenting.pdf

Summaries of articles on how drilling affects wildlife and forests:

http://www.tcgasmap.org/default.asp?metatags_Action=Find(‘PID’,’49’)#Effects on Forests and Wildlife

http://www.tcgasmap.org/default.asp?metatags_Action=Find(‘PID’,’21’)#Effects on Forests and Wildlife

The effects of ground-level ozone (increased by drilling) on trees:
“Through its tissue-damaging effects, ozone also endangers valuable timber stands and fragile wilderness ecosystems. As a component of urban smog, ozone impairs the aesthetics of those systems and creates secondary impacts on urban and wilderness habitats. Such damage is already apparent in urban trees and in parks downwind of major cities around the world.”

Land area affected by each well pad in PA (article summary):
Johnson, Nels. November 15, 2010. “Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment: Report 1: Marcellus Shale Natural Gas and Wind.” http://pa.audubon.org/PDFs/energy_analysis report.pdf
Researchers in PA took aerial photos of 242 well pads in forested areas in the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania. They digitized the images and measured how much land was cleared for well pads, access roads, pipelines, and water impoundments. They found, on average, that 3.1 acres were cleared for each well pad, and that an additional 5.7 acres were cleared for the associated structures around that well pad (roads, etc.). Then, using well-established research that most edge effects extend at least 330 feet into a forest from the edge, they calculated the additional area disturbed indirectly as 21.2 acres per pad. Thus, each well pad disturbed at least 30 acres! Although Marcellus shale well pads are expected to eventually host 6 to 8 or more wells, these pads only hosted 2 wells, on average, so the disturbance is likely to be much greater in the future. In PA, many drillers are currently developing only a few wells per pad as they rush from pad to pad to establish activity on each lease, which allows them to keep the lease (called held by production) without paying more signing bonuses to landowners or renegotiating terms.


Excerpts from the 2011 State Forest Management Plan
Covering Shindagin Hollow and Danby State Forest

http://www.tcgasmap.org/media/State Forest Leasing 2011 Rapid Waters Plan Excerpts.pdf


(2) If you Live in NY State, Sign ROUSE’s Statement:
High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing
should not be Permitted in NY to Extract Shale Gas.

ROUSE (Residents Opposing Unsafe Shale-Gas Extraction) is gathering signatures from all NY residents, and # acres owned from those who own land. The statement will be used to publicly counter the large number of people and acres being tallied by landowner coalitions to push drilling forward. Your name and contact info will be kept confidential upon request at the time of signing.

Click here for more information and a link to signing the statement

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