SGEIS Protects Environment and Provides Strong Foundation for Regulations
Testimony provided at DEC Hearing November 29, 2011, Loch Sheldrake, NY
Good afternoon, my name is Fred Peckham. I am a fifth generation river front landowner from Hancock, NY.
Many people have expressed concerns about high volume hydraulic fracturing, but in listening to some of the concerns that continue to be expressed, I can’t help but wonder whether people have actually read the current draft SGEIS. Given that most criticism has centered around surface spills, the potential for water contamination and proper disposal of waste products I believe it’s worthwhile to list some of the specific provisions in the SGEIS that address a number of these issues routinely cited by anti-natural gas activists:
- (7.1.2 & 7.1.3) The study includes measures to reduce the probability of a surface spill and, by mandating secondary containers, to dramatically reduce the impact if a spill does occur.
- (7.1.3). Requires a well operator to disclose the contents of the fracturing fluid being used at each site.
- (7.1.3) Prohibits well pads above or within 500 feet of primary or principal aquifers, or in hundred-year flood plains.
- (7.1.4) Requires advance testing, and ongoing monitoring, of all private water wells within 1,000 feet or more of a well pad.
- (7.1.4) Provides detailed specifications for the construction of well bore casings, to prevent migration of methane and flow back into the aquifers. (7.1.7) Has specific requirements for the tracking and treatment of flow back water.
- (7.1.7) Has detailed requirements for the disposal of well cuttings.
- (7.4) Strongly encourages the use of multi-well pads and requires remedial surface treatments once drilling is complete, to minimize surface disturbance and cumulative impact.
- (7.5) and includes measures to reduce air pollution, noise, the visual impact of drilling, and the impact on local roads.
I’m confident that the regulatory structure suggested by DEC in the SGEIS will make natural gas development safer than it has ever been, and safer than many other permitted industrial and agricultural activities that can pollute aquifers.
This region is in a depression and has been for sometime. The main industries here are logging, farming, quarrying and tourism. As of late, the logging and quarrying industries, as well as many of the farmers, have been having a difficult time making ends meet with no end in site. Tourism provides little in the way of high paying jobs. These jobs are seasonal, low wage service jobs not enough to raise a family on.
Its time for NY to join the other gas producing states and take advantage of this natural resource, it will provide needed jobs in an area once called Appalachian by former governor Spitzer.
I would like to thank the DEC for its due diligence in completing this comprehensive document, a job well done. I now urge you to complete your work as four years is long enough. The debate on hydraulic fracturing should remain based on science and fact, or it will have failed to serve the public interest. Science and facts tell us that natural gas development can and has been conducted in a safe and responsible way over one million times.