June 28, 2012

Collusion! DEC & Gas Industry on Fracking Regulations

News Flash Received from Water Defense: Call Gov Cuomo!

Officials at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) secretly colluded with gas industry lobbyists to write fracking regulations.

That’s what we learned yesterday from a treasure trove of documents obtained by our friends at the Environmental Working Group. These documents show that DEC General Counsel Steven Russo sent drafts of New York’s fracking legislation to industry lobbyists in order to solicit feedback on the rules at least six weeks before they were released to the public. This gave the industry ample opportunity to ensure the regulations were watered down and industry-friendly.

New York’s proposed fracking regulations have been widely criticized for ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that fracking poses grave health risks to nearby communities. Now we know why: the industry the DEC is tasked with regulating helped write its own regulations.

Call on Governor Cuomo to restore the public’s trust by scrapping proposed regulations and beginning the environmental review process from square one.

The decision to frack New York can't be unmade. Once the wells are drilled, the water is poisoned, and the people who live nearby get sick, there's no turning back. That's why we have laws that mandate an exhaustive environmental review process. Any hint that the process has been corrupted demands that we go back to the drawing board. Moving forward with proposed regulations in light of yesterday’s revelations means gambling with the lives and livelihoods of families across the state.

The people of New York deserve a transparent environmental review process that puts the health and safety of our communities front and center, not regulations written behind closed doors in collaboration with the industry being regulated.

Governor Cuomo must act immediately to restore the public’s faith in the environmental review process by scrapping proposed regulations and starting over.

Thanks for everything,

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