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Transportation & Environment

Resolution on the Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Drilling Methods for Extracting Natural Gas within New York State

WHEREAS, Natural gas exploration and production companies, and mineral rights owners, are interested in developing a potentially significant gas resource in the Marcellus Shale through the use of horizontal drilling and a hydraulic fracturing technique known as "slick water fracturing" which requires large volumes of water; and

WHEREAS, The State Environmental Quality Review Act requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to review the methods used while accessing this natural gas that is located deep within the earth; and

WHEREAS, Hydraulic fracturing mixes water with sand and 250+ toxic chemicals; and

WHERES, The 2005 Energy Policy Act exempts companies who employ hydraulic fracturing methods from having to comply with many public health laws which were specifically written to protect our natural resources and well-being (e.g., Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-know Act); and

WHEREAS, Chapter 376 of the Laws of New York State of 2008 streamlined the permitting process for horizontal wells that use hydraulic fracturing, allowing the development of natural gas drilling sites within Marcellus Shale in New York to proceed more quickly; and

WHEREAS, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Mineral Resources, Bureau of Oil & Gas Regulation held scoping hearings upstate for a Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, but failed to hold any hearings within New York City despite the fact 90% of our water supply comes from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds; and

WHEREAS, Chemicals contained in hydraulic fracturing fluids cause a variety of irreversible and catastrophic damages to the air, water, public health, wildlife, and integrity of local communities; and

WHEREAS, Hydraulic fracturing presents risks of water contamination during drilling operations and during the storage and disposal of millions of gallons of the water and chemical additive mixture required for each well that is created; and

WHEREAS, Hydraulic fracturing has resulted in contaminated water supplies in other states, including Wyoming and New Mexico; and

WHEREAS, No amount of careful planning and operation can guarantee that there will be no chemical spills that could flow into reservoirs, underground migration of fracturing fluids toward the water supply, or other accidents resulting from drilling operations; and

WHEREAS, If the water supply should be contaminated, the City of New York would be required by the Environmental Protection Agency to build and operate a water filtration plant, the cost of which has been estimated to be approximately $10 billion, which would be borne by New York City taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, Absolutely no evidence has been shown by any organization that fluids used during hydraulic fracturing can be completely filtered out of drinking water; and

WHEREAS, New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, State Senators Tom Duane and Daniel Squadron, City Council Environmental Committee Chairperson James Gennaro and Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Jessica Lappin issued statements calling for banning drilling in the city watershed; and

WHEREAS, Council Member Gennaro has introduced Resolution No. 1850 in the New York City Council that calls for a ban for drilling within our watershed area; and

WHEREAS, There is no possible remedy once contamination has occurred; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, This method for accessing natural gas is far too dangerous to the air, water, public health, wildlife and integrity of local communities to be approved by any Federal or New York State entity; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board 5 of Manhattan calls on the New York State Legislature, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Governor David Paterson to prohibit hydraulic fracturing drilling for natural gas within New York State.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 40 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining.

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