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Officials, Advocates Ask New Yorkers To Support Ban on Gas Drilling in Drinking Water Supply

In response to Earthjustice Freedom of Information Act request, state records show troubling oversight gaps
March 5, 2009
New York, NY —

Elected officials and environmental advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall today calling upon New Yorkers in all five boroughs to support a ban on natural gas drilling in the city's drinking water supply watershed. The speakers asked the city's 59 community boards and residents in all five boroughs to adopt a City Council resolution and sign on online petition unveiled at the event.

The following is a statement from Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice, concerning natural gas drilling in the New York City watershed:

"We should have a zero-risk policy when it comes to our drinking water supplies. Given the known history of groundwater and surface water contamination in areas with intensive natural gas development, the New York City watershed must be placed off limits to drilling. We cannot trade off the health of nine million people against the temporary and generally overstated economic benefits of fossil fuel extraction.

"Industry and, unfortunately, our own state environmental officials will tell you that there are no documented instances of water contamination from the hydraulic fracturing process used to drill for gas. But the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation admitted in its response to a Freedom of Information Law request submitted by Earthjustice that 'the Department does not require private water testing or surface water testing as a condition of a permit' and that the agency does not compile a record of drilling problems requiring follow-up. Ignorance of the facts is not the same as a clean bill of environmental health." 


Deborah Goldberg, Earthjustice, (212) 791-1881, ext 27