DEC SGEIS/Fracking Regulations 2011


1. The Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program relating to the permitting of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) available at:;

2. The proposed SPDES General Permit (GP) for Stormwater Discharges from HVHF available along with its fact sheet at:; and

3. The proposed regulations relating to HVHF revising and adding to 6 NYCRR Parts 52, 190, 550-556, 560, and Subparts 750-1 and 750-3, available at:

 First (2009) Draft SGEIS Information (With Links to Comments Submitted)


Public Notice:

Combined Notice of Public Hearings on the Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs and related proposed State Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges and proposed Regulations.

Pursuant to Articles 8, 17 and 70 of the Environmental Conservation Law and the State Administrative Procedures Act, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) will conduct a series of combined public hearings at the dates, times, and locations listed below for the purpose of accepting both verbal and written comments on the following:

1. The Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program relating to the permitting of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) available at:;
2. The proposed SPDES General Permit (GP) for Stormwater Discharges from HVHF available along with its fact sheet at:; and
3. The proposed regulations relating to HVHF revising and adding to 6 NYCRR Parts 52, 190, 550-556, 560, and Subparts 750-1 and 750-3, available at:

On September 7, 2011, NYS DEC, as SEQRA lead agency, published a notice of completion of the Revised Draft SGEIS in the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) for public review available at: The Revised Draft SGEIS includes among other things an assessment of potential significant impacts resulting from the proposed actions described above relating to High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing.

Public Comment: Public comments on the Revised Draft SGEIS, proposed GP and proposed regulations will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Jan 11th, 2012 at: and written comments to the address below.

Contact: Eugene Leff, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-6510, Phone: (518) 402-8044, E-mail:

General Comments:

 N.Y. has to really study gas drilling impact.  SGEIS By Robert Howarth and Larysa Dyrszka, Commentary.Updated 07:57 a.m., Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hydrofracking opinions count.Published 09:40 p.m., Sunday, November 6, 2011

Regulations: Critique of  DEC Regulation in 1994.

The report gave the Department’s regulatory program an F.
No real improvements in regulations since – and staff has been cut. 
The dSGEIS is a grandiose warm-over of the GEIS – which was flawed when written – as the ’94 audit shows. 
The DEC is not prepared to adequately regulate shale gas industrialization 
Because, since its exception, the DEC has never adequately regulated gas drilling in New York
It uses the “generic impact” approach – in order to maintain its ability to be both lax in arbitrary in “enforcing the rules”
Because it has no rules.  (Or conspicuously few)
This paper is based largely on Brian Brock’s analysis of the IOGCC report on the DMN :
Fracking apologists have asserted that New York has the best fracking regulations in the nation.
In fact, New York has relatively few regulations for gas drilling – and they are demonstrably the worst in the US :
What few regulations the DEC has are poorly enforced-  as detailed in the paper.
At an Assembly hearing, former DEC employee Greg Sovas asserted that the current guidelines – the GEIS – are “regulations” 
He told the panel the GEIS would be adequate for horizontally hydrofraking shale – to the panel’s astonished disbelief. 


SGEIS –simple ways to respond:

Tell Governor Cuomo & NY’s Environmental Agency to Fix the State’s Faulty Fracking Proposals

Thirty-five days may seem like a lot of time to comment on the document that would guide industrial gas drilling by means of ‘fracking’ if it’s permitted in New York State, but don’t wait! The revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or ‘SGEIS,’ weighs in at over 1,500 pages, and it takes time to dig through.

The state’s fracking proposal is out for public comment through January 11. Help fix this flawed document—tell Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) your concerns about their plans for New York’s fracking future. Please take action today!

We’re making it easy to submit your comments, because we’ve heard from our members that using the DEC’s webform isn’t easy. That’s why we’re doing our best to help you guarantee your voice is heard when it matters most in the ongoing fracking debate.

Please stand with us and send your comment before the comment period closes on January 11!

 Thank you for your support,

Katherine Nadeau
Water & Natural Resources Program Director


Another simple response alternative (Feel free to use more than one)

We are in the eleventh hour of this fast tracking of the SGEIS and “public comment period”.
A Million Fracking Letters is the website of the people of New York. It is your website.
Check out the powerful 90 second A Million Fracking Letters on You Tube 
Build the buzz – Write to Governor Cuomo telling him to protect the health of all New Yorkers by banning fracking now!!! 
Build the buzz – Make copies of your letter to send to your state and federal legislators, President Obama and newspapers.  
Build the buzz – Talk about your letter on:   A Million Fracking Letters Facebook page 
Build the buzz – Tell your friends, family, neighbors and associates to do the same now!
Build the buzz – Embed this information on your websites, facebook, twitter and emails. 


You can use the DEC's online comment form, here;
* This shortened URL is easy to remember and takes you to the same place:

Paper Copy to the DEC

Letters should be sent here:

Attn: dSGEIS Comments,
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
625 Broadway,
Albany, NY 12233-6510. 

Please include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter.
Paper submissions also will be accepted at the public hearings date/locations TBD.
The DEC managed to clarify their deadline for people who want to send in hard copy letters. Your hard copy comments don’t need to be received by Jan 11th, just postmarked by the 11th.
“Proposed regulations regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) are available for public comment. Comments will be accepted if received or postmarked by January 11, 2012.”

Build the buzz!  Tell about your letter on  A Million Letters Facebook Page

First (2009) Draft SGEIS Information (With Links to Comments Submitted)

Background Information on the Revised Draft SGEIS

Links to Preliminary Revised Draft SGEIS and DEC Press Release


Danby SGEIS Comments Table  Resources For Commenting On The Preliminary Revised Draft SGEIS

Tompkins County Forum on Revised Draft SGEIS (July 25, 2011)

This was an excellent panel, with lots of fresh and relevant info on the July 2011 document.
If you want to understand the present state of Fracking in NY, START HERE!
It doesn’t get any better than this!!

Check out the Playlist (the black box on the page) or download individual files. You can burn tracks 1-7 on one CD, and tracks 8-9 on another CD.

Be sure also to check out:


Recommendations on Commenting on Health Impacts Coverage in the SGEIS from Damascus Citizens

NYS Assembly Hearings on Health Impacts of Hydrofracking–May 26, 2011

Attached is the transcript of the May 26th NYS Assembly Public Hearings.  You can get a DVD set of the hearings by mailing a check for $10 (in the memo line write “for DVD of May 26th public hearing on health and hydrofracking”) to Office of Public Information, Room 202, Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248.
There were also 863pp of written testimony submitted and this is also available through the Office of Public Information.  However, they aren’t on electronic file, just hard copy.  You can get that copied for 25 cents a page by contacting Robin Marilla at 518-455-4218.  It can take up to a month, but some of that information may be useful for your SGEIS comments.
More on the SGEIS and health issues in a future email…
However, in brief, the revised SGEIS fails to protect human health.  (  Search the document for key words, like endocrine disruptors, or names, like Theo Colborn or Robert Howarth.
–As with the previous draft SGEIS, there is no chapter dedicated to human health.  Busy medical professionals must go through over 1000 pages to try to gather health info, so chances are they won’t.  Some of the information is incorrect, incomplete or outdated and the conclusions based on their information therefore wrong (eg, radioactivity, waste, chemicals…)
–No Health Impact Assessment was done.
–There is no mechanism for tracking human health impacts and assessing risk.
–Cumulative impacts on individuals, communities, the state are not addressed.
–There is no provision to protect vulnerable populations.
–The complete list of determinants of human health are not covered in the SGEIS, nor are the stressors on human health.
–There is no regard for the Precautionary Principle.

Socio-economic aspects-Comments

Ecology and Environment Engineering, P.C. prepared the Socio-economic Impact Analysis as a technical consulting report in support of the revised draft SGEIS. The Socio-economic Impact Analysis (PDF) (4.0 Mb) is available for download as a single PDF file

Ithaca Forum on SGEIS Socio-economic Impact Analysis  Oct. 15 1-3:30

Well Build-out Scenario as described in Socio-Economic Chapter of SGEIS

Letter to Governor Cuomo on 2011 revised SGEIS chapter on Economic and Social impacts of shale gas drilling.  Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D.; Senior Economist, Pepacton Institute LLC; President, JM Barth & Associates, Inc.  Edward C. Kokkelenberg, Ph.D.; Research Fellow, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University;Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Binghamton University;; Timothy Mount, Ph.D.; Professor of Economics, Cornell University;

For further information or assistance with these documents, please contact the DEC’s Bureau of Public Outreach by email at or by calling 518-402-8044.

DEC names hydrofracking advisory panel

More about Preliminary Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (July 2011):

Be sure to copy your SGEIS Comments to

All comments should also be copied to the Dept of Health and the Attorney General. 
“Don’t give up.  This is not a done deal.  Write.  Be sure to copy everything to the DEC, DOH, Cuomo and the Attorney General.”   
DOH mailing address –  Important to “snail” mail since DOH is not required to accept SGEIS comments and could simply delete e-mail comments.  Same may be true of AG and Governor.  
Dr. Howard Freed, Director
Center for Environmental Health
New York State Department of Health
Flanigan Square, 547 River Street
Troy, NY  12180-2216
Dr. Shah, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza,
Albany, NY 12237
General email for DOH
Eric Schneiderman, Office of the Attorney General, The Capitol  Albany, NY 12224-0341

 DEC:   Joe Martens, Commissioner 518-402-8545
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1010

  • James Northrup’s Comments (in red) on Kate Sinding’s OpEd July 17, 2011

DEC’s revised fracking review is still flawed

Learn more

Private Water Wells. The state is proposing to require a 500-foot setback from any private drinking water wells in which drilling would be prohibited. This is substantially greater than that required in other states.
Actually, it’s about mid range for Western states – which have almost no shallow groundwater wells in areas of shale gas activity. 

“La Plata County, Co has imposed a 400-foot setback requirement, and Gunnison County,Co. has had a 500-foot setback rule. Fort Worth, Texas — scene of some of the most active urban drilling — has a 600-foot setback rule.:” 

There are very few private water wells in Fort Worth – which is entirely served by municipal water lines – in accordance with state law. Of the few private water wells in the city limits (typically golf courses), none are shallow residential groundwater wells – of the type found in rural New York. These Upstate groundwater wells are uniquely vulnerable to surface pollutants – from spills, etc. and from methane migration of gas drilling operations.  Central Texas wells tap deep aquifers – not groundwater. Accordingly, a 500’ set-back that might be appropriate in a municipality in a  semi arid part of Texas would be wholly inadequate for Upstate.
But, among other concerns, the DEC inexplicably would allow individual landowners to waive that 500-foot buffer. In theory, the DEC’s 500-foot buffer is based on the best available scientific evidence as to what is necessary to protect public health and drinking water supplies.
“In theory” –  in actuality it was simply lifted from ordinances in Colorado and Texas – like some of the other setbacks. 
The government has a responsibility to protect and ensure clean drinking water for its residents by putting this buffer in place. They should not put landowners in a position of balancing potential economic gain against risking their health and safety.
Regulations. In a very welcome development, the state is now saying it will conduct a rulemaking process that would formalize its proposed safeguards in a single set of uniform, legally enforceable regulations. This is critical. Currently, the agency relies upon an ad hoc mix of 25-year-old regulations, a nearly 20-year-old environmental impact statement, guidance documents, and permit conditions to regulate drilling. This is a highly technical, and impactful, industrial activity, and the public is entitled to the certainty and transparency that can only come through comprehensive, consistent regulations that are up-to-date with the current technology in use.
Unfortunately, DEC has said that it would begin processing permit applications for new fracking after completion of the environmental review process and before finishing the rulemaking. This makes no sense whatsoever, and threatens to undermine the very public confidence that a rulemaking could otherwise assure. Particularly given that DEC says it expects to process very few applications during that time, there is no justification for such an approach.
The DEC has no staff capacity to process, much less regulate HHF. For Martens to pretend otherwise is dangerously misleading 

Grannis quit over staffing cuts. 

Without a production tax on gas at the wellhead, the state will derive no direct income from this activity – only permit fees
Waste. Despite all the problems we have seen caused by toxic wastewaters and solid wastes from Colorado to Pennsylvania, the state is still proposing that contaminant-laden, potentially radioactive drilling and fracturing fluids, mud-drilled cuttings, pit liners, flowback water and produced brine be classified as nonhazardous industrial waste.
Fracking waste does not belong in landfills or standard wastewater treatment plants — it needs special care like all other hazardous waste to prevent contamination after it has been thrown away. Given the danger many of these fluids pose — and the fact that if not for a special regulatory loophole, they would certainly in many cases be classified as hazardous waste subject to the DEC’s full regulatory program — this approach is unacceptable. While the DEC proposes a tracking system for solid and liquid wastes generated in connection with fracking, similar to that which is required for medical waste, this system does not go far enough to protect New Yorkers from serious public health threats associated with inadequately regulated hazardous wastes.
A tracking system would make sense if in fact there were facilities in place to get rid of the raw flowback or the processed, toxic, radioactive sludge 

As proposed a tracking system to nowhere
Open pits. According to the latest draft, based on an assertion by industry that it is unlikely to use open pits or impoundments for storage of wastewaters, the state is proposing to require a site-specific environmental review prior to permitting any such pits. While this is an improvement on the last draft’s proposal to allow open impoundments, it doesn’t go far enough. These pits — whether on individual well pads or in centralized locations — should be outright prohibited. Industry’s reported assertion makes clear that there are available alternatives, and the risks of leaks, spills, overflows, etc. from these pits are too great.
No open pits. Look around. This is not West Texas


Town of Ithaca Comments.pdf (application/pdf Object). Hearing Comments/Town of Ithaca Comments.pdf


Robert Howarth 11/30/11

Confusion Re Drilling Regulations to be developed simultaneously with SGEIS

News Stories:

Cortland Standard 7/8/11


2009 SGEIS

NYC SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement) comments:

2. EPA SGEIS Comments:

3. NY draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for High Volume Horizontal Hydrofracturing in Marcellus and similar shales:

4. Excellent site for scientific info on
public health effects of shale gas development.

5. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection

6. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation And

7. Environmental Protection Agency

Comment suggestions:

Chapter 5

  • Radioactivity:  Radium 226 has a half-life of 1601 YEARS!  Which means………………….
    100,000 tons of whatever that is radioactive, will be 50,000 in 1601
    Years!  In another 1601 YEARS, that 50,000 will then be 25,000!for more information: issue needs to be  brought up.  Radium 226 is higher in the
    Marcellus shale than in any other shale.The DEC’s take on this issue from the NEW SGEIS?
    Radioactivity in the Marcellus Shale according to DEC.  July 1, 2011
    First Released Report.
    typical ‘industry’ response.
    Gamma ray logs from deep wells drilled in New York over the past
    several decades show the Marcellus Shale to be higher in radioactivity
    than other bedrock formations including other potential reservoirs
    that could be developed by high-volume hydraulic fracturing. However,
    based on the analytical results from field-screening and gamma ray
    spectroscopy performed on samples of Marcellus Shale NORM levels in
    cuttings are not significant because the levels are similar to those
    naturally encountered in the surrounding environment. As explained in
    Chapter 5, the total volume of drill cuttings produced from drilling a
    horizontal well may be one-third greater than that for a conventional,
    vertical well. For multi-well pads, cuttings volume would be
    multiplied by the number of wells on the pad. The potential water
    resources impact associated with the greater volume of drill cuttings
    from multiple horizontal well drilling operations would arise from the
    retention of cuttings during drilling, necessitating a larger reserve
    pit that may be present for a longer period of time, unless the
    cuttings are directed into tanks as part of a closed-loop tank system.
    The geotechnical stability and bearing capacity of buried cuttings, if
    left in a common pit, would need to be reviewed prior to pit
  • Primary & Secondary Aquifers  In its Executive Summary of the revised SGEIS released yesterday, the DEC  states clearly that groundwater is at sufficient risk from gas drilling to restrict gas drilling to protect  those drinking groundwater. But they only afford that protection to those drinking from primary aquifers. The DEC leaves the great majority of drinkers of groundwater in the Marcellus unprotected. They have some explaining to do.

    I’m looking forward to hearing the DEC’s logic and science—their risk assessment strategy— used to assess that only some drinkers of contaminated groundwater need protection.

    Primary aquifers are used as drinking water for some municipalities.

    The list is on  on page 5 !

  • The list includes about 300,000 people in those municipalities drinking water from these primary aquifers in counties in the Marcellus shale. (see attached spreadsheet and chart at bottom.)page 18 of the new DEC doc describes the exclusion of primary aquifers. It’s pasted below, bold face added.

  • No HVHF Operations on Primary Aquifers

    Although not subject to Filtration Avoidance Determinations, 18 other aquifers in the State of New York have been identified by the New York State Department of Health as highly prod! uctive aquifers presently utilized as sources of water supply by major municipal water supply systems and are designated as “primary aquifers.” Because these aquifers are the primary source of drinking water for many public drinking water supplies, the Department recommends in this dSGEIS that site disturbance relating to HVHF operations should not be permitted there either or in a protective 500-foot buffer area around them. Horizontal extraction of gas resources underneath Primary Aquifers from well pads located outside this area would not significantly impact this valuable water resource.

    As the DEC says, this is in addition to the exclusion of drilling in the watersheds of NYC and Syracuse.

    Now, one can make an argument, as the DEC has, that the exclusion of drilling in the NYC and Syracuse water supplies is based on their being unfiltered surface water (as opposed to ground  water), w! ith a risk of “turbidity” from surface drilling activity.  And because there have been rules in place for years restricting industry and development  in unfiltered surface watersheds to avoid having to build  super expensive filtration plants, as  for NYC.  A more clear eyed assessment of carving out the NYC watershed is that the DEC wants to excise the political opposition of NYC, which could easily create a critical mass of opposition in the state.  But they do have the surface water “turbidity” argument  to fall back on to explain this preferential exclusion, even if politics is the underlying reason. 

    But, when you are dealing with groundwater sources, how can you rationally, and scientifically exclude some aquifers and not others. Again, the actual rationale appears overtly political, rather than based on the science or risk.  The D! EC is trying to carve out the opposition of the  municipalities drinking from primary aquifers—including Jamestown, Elmira, Cortland, Binghamton, Corning, Salamanca.  After all,  these municipalities  are really organized entities of people…….. who would otherwise likely oppose drilling.

    Problem is, there are at least 1,140,000 people drinking groundwater in the Marcellus shale.   What’s up DEC? You’ve determined that groundwater is at risk. You’re going to protect 300,000 people from ground water protection, but not the other 840,000.

    Who are those people? Hello, it’s us, the people of rural NY State who will be drinking from polluted wells.  It’s us,  people who will not be receive equal protection against the very threats that the DEC assesses are too risky for the people of upstate municipalities.

    I think I’m going to call my lawyer.

    Ken Jaffe
    Slope Farms
    Meredith, NY
    917-543-0169  cell

Continue Input on the SGEIS

  • Continue to Provide NEW information to DEC:
    • the DEC must continue to receive NEWLY DISCOVERED information up through the time they are ready to issue the dsgeis in final form – and industry is taking advantage of this to send in new information about their recycling water efforts (and without a showing of some possibility of recycling there is possibly no way for the DEC to make a finding of no/little impact).  So, I believe it is in our interests and not a waste of time (and may add time to the review and/or modify the result if any newly discovered information is sent to the DEC.
      But it is important that the information be properly submitted.
      Specifically, the information should be addressed to the Department of Environmental Conservation
      And specifically state that the materials are being sent to them as lead agency for the dsgeis on Natural Gas Drilling and as a comment to the dsgeis (admittedly after the deadline for comments) because it is newly discovered evidence and should be considered as relevant information in finalizing the draft.-Helen Slottje
  • Over the past 10 months, Walter Hang has been sending out info regarding the many serious faults with the DEC’s draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS). The document itself is available on the DEC website, but is absolutely massive. If you have not yet written your emails regarding withdrawal,  the best points to be made are at the following websites. In order to facilitate emails being sent to Grannis, Enck, & Paterson regarding the document’s withdrawal, their email addresses and other contact info is also listed below:

From: Walter Hang <>
All the alerts are posted at:

Everything is on my web site:
Thanks. w

Walter has requested you send him copies at <>.


SEQR / SEQRA links:

state of NY docs:
citizen-created docs:

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