October 28, 2013

Information on DEC Hearing Oct 30

This message from Dr. Sandra Steingraber, New Yorkers Against Fracking,  about the DEC public hearing on Oct 30 to hear views about the LNG gas infrastructure storage proposals for NY. 

October 28, 2013
  Dear fellow New Yorkers,

With great urgency, I ask you to join me in a show of public resistance at a rally and public hearing on newly proposed Liquefied Natural Gas regulations that pave the way for fracking.  The place is Albany and the date is this Wednesday, October 30.

But first, a quick retelling of an old story.

Recall the ancient city of Troy. After a decade-long siege, it was finally ravaged by foreign invaders and so became a symbol for lost causes everywhere.

Troy fell not because its people defended their home half-heartedly or because public opinion drifted over to the Greeks. Instead, in a moment of inattention, the Trojans were tricked. Presuming it a gift from a retreating army, the citizens of Troy allowed a giant wooden horse to roll through their gates, never suspecting that soldiers were hidden within.

At this point, the war had dragged on for years, the people were tired, and no one listened to the guy who yelled out, “Don’t trust the horse, Trojans!”

Too late.  Under cover of darkness, commandos emerged from the statue, unlocked the city gates, and the whole foreign army—who had only pretended to retreat—swarmed in.

Fast forward a few thousand years to New York State (where we also have a city of Troy—and also an Ithaca, Marathon, Homer, Syracuse, and Ulysses).  We’ve been fighting the shale gas army for years.  So far, and against all odds, our walls are holding. All around the world, New York is hailed as a beacon of effective anti-fracking resistance and we continue to inspire similar efforts in other states.  We are the opposite of a lost cause.  We are the little engine that could.

And yet, against this backdrop, a subterfuge is quietly playing out.  Even as we have managed, so far, to stave off high-volume, horizontal fracking in our state, the infrastructure for shale gas—call it inFRACKstructure—is being pieced together. It comes in the form of pipelines, compressor stations, power plant conversions, plans to store fracked gas in abandoned salt mines, and a proposed import/export terminal near Jones Beach in the outer reaches of New York Harbor.

By delivering fracked gas to new markets—very likely including those overseas—these infrastructure projects help the industry juke up the demand and the price for shale gas and so pave the way for fracking our state.  These projects also emit climate-killing methane along with air pollutants harmful to our own health.  They further entrench our dependency on fossil fuels. And they’re potentially explosive.

The Trojan Horse in all this is a new set of draft regs released last month from the New York State Department of Conservation.  If enacted, they would lift New York’s 40-year ban on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities that has been in place ever since 40 people on Staten Island lost their lives when an LNG tank exploded and collapsed.

In statements to the press and to public, the DEC describes the typical facilities permitted by these new regs as LNG refueling stations for long-haul trucks.  This is deceptive.

The regs themselves include no restrictions at all on what type of facility would be allowed.  Or how big it could be.  Anything goes.  In fact, specifically mentioned in the reg’s fine print are Liquefied Natural Gas production plants—including those “near gas wells”—and import/export terminals.

Moreover, the draft regs do not restrict where in our communities LNG facilities could locate. There are no required minimum distances away from our homes, schools, or workplaces.

The draft regs require no limits on methane venting or toxic chemical emissions, nor even any requirement to measure emissions.

The draft regs contain no security protocols—even though the Congressional Research Service itself has warned that LNG facilities are potential terrorist targets.

In a line: Don’t trust the regs, New Yorkers!

What you see is not what you get.  And that’s a problem because Liquefied Natural Gas is a boiling liquid that must be stored at the super-cooled temperature of 260 degrees below zero and, in order not to blow up, must periodically vent methane gas.  An accidental spill of LNG creates an airborne vapor cloud that, if it ignites, burns hotter than other fuels and is not extinguishable.

We need a big conversation about these regs before they are pulled through our gates.  To do that, the DEC has provided us just one public hearing on the LNG regs, and this is the event to which I am calling you.

Our voices of resistance are already beginning to be heard. On Friday, the DEC added 30 additional days onto its 30-day comment period, so extending the deadline for written comments to December 4. (To get involved with the happy task of submitting written comments, please sign up with www.thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com.)

But DEC stopped short of offering us additional public hearings around the state.  October 30 in Albany remains our only opportunity to comment with our bodies and our voices.  We know the Governor’s office will be paying attention to our numbers and to our message this Wednesday.

Now we simply have to show up. We need to build momentum in the form of a big display of public opposition, which means everyone needs to drop everything and attend the public hearing on the LNG regulations on Wednesday, October 30th in Albany.

So join me.  Because we are un-hoodwink-able New Yorkers with a vision of an unfractured future for our children.

Because we are paying attention and refuse to be tired.
Because we will not abide dangerous inFRACKstructure in our communities.
Because we will never desist.
And because we know a Trojan Horse when we see one.
Until Albany—

And the results? drum roll..........super successful day!  Thank you to NYAF, F&WW, FRACKACTION and all who made it possible to have another successful expression of our democratic rights as citizens of NY!

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