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UALA's Dick Downey on DEC and dSGEIS

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Before I describe the DEC hearing in Sullivan County today  --  two bits of information.  Work crews are clearing brush and doing survey work on the old TEPPCO (currently Enterprise) line that runs in the northern portion of our catchment area.  Preparation for a larger line?
 
Secondly, we encourage Otego residents to attend the Comprehensive Plan Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec 6 and the Town Board Meeting on Wednesdat, Dec 14.  The questions in the questionaire to be sent to all voters and taxpayers must be written without prejudice.  Logistical procedures for sending, collecting, and tallying must be supervised by the Town Board.  There should be break down of survey answers,  sepatating those of the Village and those of the Town outside the Village. 
 
The afternoon DEC Hearing at Sullivan County Community College was attended by about 400 people.  I got there about an hour and a half early and was 145th in the line.  Not all wanted to speak so I was #85 on the speakers list.  Below you will find the speach that wasn't given.  The speeches ended at #60. By that time I felt my ears were bleeding from all the emotional hysteria that surrounds hydraulic fracturing.  The hearings end tomorrow at Manhattan Community College.  If UALA members Don DeVincentis or members of the Brusco family who will be attending in NYC want to use the speach above, please feel free to do so.  But take care of yourselves.  It can get scary. 
 
 
DEC, YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM!!!
 
I’m referring to Chapter 6.1.3 of the SGEIS and the information that isn’t getting to the public
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You have a GREAT RECORD with drinking water safety in the NYS oil and gas fields, BUT NOBODY knows about it. So you keep getting pounded like what’s happening today. (Editor’s note: the comments at the Sullivan County DEC hearing ran about 3:1 on the negaqtive side)
 
Part of the problem is ideological. If Jesus, Mohamed, and Moses were to follow me up to the podium and tell this crowd that you have a good record, the crowd would be yelling “Sellouts! -- Shills!” There’s no talking to “the ideologicals,”
 
These folks aside, part of your problem is that it’s hard to find easily understandable - longitudinal data - from one source -- that tells the true story of drinking water safety under your watch
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There is a solution. The Chattauqua County Department of Health has put together a drinking water incident report spread sheet and followed up on these reports from 1983 to the present
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Chattauqua is a good place to start. It has 5000 active wells, about one third of the active wells in NYS. There are between 500 to 600 new wells drilled each year. 90% of all new wells are hydraulically fractured.
 
The reports of incidents of well water disturbance are just that -- reports. Most reported incidents are be found to be inconsequential and/or temporary in nature. HOWEVER, they should be investigated and noted for the record. And they are.
 
 
So what does the data show? From 1983 to the summer 1988 there was an average of 22 reports of drinking water disturbances per year in Chautauqua County.
 
NOT GOOD. YOU KNEW IT. YOU TOOK ACTION.
 
The DEC created new cementing and casing regulations in 1988. From 1988 to the present -- a period of over 20 years -- the reports of disturbance has fallen to a little over 1 per year.
 
It’s on a spread sheet for all to see. But you’d have to be Sherlock Holmes to find it.
And by the way, those regulations issued in 1988 have been further strengthened in the new SGEIS that we are now discussing.
 
So we suggest the following actions to fill your public information void:
 
>> Work with county Departments of Health to create a universal reporting and follow-up investigative system.
 
>> The DEC should lead this effort and work with counties to secure funding.
 
>> The centralized report should be readable and easy to obtain.
 
>> The DEC should disseminate this data widely
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DEC, you have a good story. It should be told. It’s up to you to get it out there. We wish you the best as we move forward to safe drilling throughout the State
 
Keep the faith,
 
.
Richard Downey
Unatego Area Landowners Association

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