Top NY Environmental Regulator: “No Evidence” That HF Has Impacted Groundwater

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about how hydraulic fracturing — a tightly regulated procedure that has been used over one million times since the 1940s — supposedly contaminates groundwater. The claim was given new life last week when the New York Times’ anti-shale reporter Ian Urbina published yet another easy-on-the-facts story about hydraulic fracturing, this time focusing upon a 30-year old EPA assessment whose methodology had more holes in it than a slice of swiss cheese.
The claim about water contamination is, of course, completely false, a point that has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous government agenciesstate regulators, and public officials. As Colorado governor John Hickenlooper – a Democrat and former petroleum geologist – said less than one week ago, “the concerns over fracking are overblown and not based on science.”

Which brings us to the latest addition to this long list of experts confirming the safety of hydraulic fracturing: New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens. For several years the DEC has been undergoing a thorough review process to allow safe and responsible shale gas development in the Empire State, so Martens is obviously well-informed about the fracturing process. Moreover, Martens would certainly convey any concerns about the process had he discovered any. So, without further ado…

NY DEC Commissioner Joe Martens: “There is no evidence that we found that fracking fluids can migrate through that … distance and those zones. That is not to say that there aren’t shallow migration problems. We just don’t see any risk from the deep horizontal well that is very far underground and migration up to the lowest level of fresh water.” (ProPublica, 8/9/11)


  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: “Joe is an outstanding choice to lead such a vital agency at such at an important time. We are at a crossroads for the environmental movement in New York State and I know that Joe will continue to be a leader in the fight to preserve our great state’s landscape, environment, and natural resources. I look forward to working with Joe and commend the Governor for making this nomination.” (Release, 1/4/11)
  • Natural Resources Defense Council’s Ashok Gupta: “Joe Martens’ experience, judgment, and temperament make him the right person at the right time to meet the challenges that DEC faces. He has the support and key relationships with the business and environmental community that will allow him to hit the ground running. The Governor’s selection of Mr. Martens reflects his strong belief that protecting New York State’s environment goes hand in hand with advancing the state’s economic goals.” (Release, 1/4/11)
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