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Jan 10 / Bell

New Yorkers Looking for a Hero to Protect Water & Communities from Fracking

The New York Water Rangers, a partnership of environmental and community groups working to protect the state’s waters and communities from the dangers of industrial gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” this month launched a TV commercial designed to get the issue some much-deserved attention.

The New York Water Rangers campaign is supported by a network of organizations working to protect the rights and health of New Yorkers and one of our most precious environmental resources-water-from the dangers of irresponsible, poorly regulated, and under-inspected natural gas exploration and development. The campaign is supported by Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Earthjustice, EARTHWORKS Oil & Gas Accountability Project, Environment New York, Fleased, Natural Resources Defense Council, Otsego 2000, and Riverkeeper. Visit to learn more.

Jan 6 / Chambers

Crunch Time on Fracking: Make Your Voice Heard!

Image on right courtesy

Riverkeeper has been a leader in the effort to prevent New York from fracking with our water – and we need your help to win the fight. It’s a critical moment in our campaign, as public pressure mounts on the Governor and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to rethink their flawed plans for gas drilling in the state. Here are four ways you can make a difference in this fight:

Comment on DEC fracking proposals by Jan. 11
The state has drafted a deeply flawed environmental impact study and regulations for fracking in New York, and state officials need to hear from the public—now! Review our 10 Major Flaws with New York’s Fracking Plan, and then see our commenting guide to do your part. The comment deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 11 and comments being sent in the mail must be postmarked by this date.

Host a fracking comment party
Magnify your impact by gathering your friends and colleagues for a fracking comment party. Share information from our fact sheet or public presentation on fracking. Just make sure all comments reach the DEC by Jan. 11.

Join the Fracking Day of Action
Riverkeeper and its partners are organizing a Fracking Day of Action to lobby New York lawmakers at the state capital in Albany. Register, and plan to join us on Monday, Jan. 23.

Donate to Riverkeeper
Contribute to Riverkeeper’s Watershed Program to support our legal team as they respond in detail to the DEC’s voluminous fracking proposals. We pledge to keep fighting until we are confident that both our water quality and our quality of life are protected.

Dec 21 / Chambers

Resolve to Make Your Voice Heard on NY’s Fracking Proposal in 2012: Host a Fracking Comment Party

gasdrilling rally in NYC

As the year winds down, Riverkeeper celebrates the Don’t Frack with NY community for what we have achieved this year. We have accomplished a lot recently – the Delaware River Basin Commission suspended its vote on its gas drilling regulations in November and, in December, the U.S. EPA acknowledged for the first time that there is a link between fracking and water contamination. However, our biggest battles are still ahead, and there remains a lot to be done to protect New York’s residents and our water.

You have until Jan. 11, 2012 to submit your comments on New York’s fracking proposal. A great way to use the time between now and then is to host a comment writing party with your community, so you can share ideas and educate others who might not be familiar with NY’s proposal.

Here’s our how to:
(1) Invite friends, family, or community members to your home or a local gathering space to learn more about fracking and how to submit comments on New York’s fracking proposal. You can learn more about fracking by reviewing our presentation.

(2) Distribute some how-to’s at the party. Riverkeeper has published a comment guide, fact sheet on fracking and a list of the Top 10 Flaws with NY’s Fracking Proposal.

(3) Bring some paper, pens, envelopes and stamps for people to send their comments. Please mail your comments by Saturday, Jan. 7 to ensure their timely delivery by Jan. 11. If you are tech-savvy, you can also invite people to bring their laptops so that they can submit their comments online.

Why you should act now:
Albany could permit companies to frack in NY starting as early as 2012— and we now know the horror story that can result from fracking activities. Families in Dimock, PA have had their wells destroyed by fracking and have yet to have their water restored.

Have questions or plan on hosting a fracking comment party? Contact Riverkeeper Membership & Events Manager Dan Shapley at We’d love to post good stories about your efforts on the blog or just hear what you have planned.

Dec 9 / Chambers

Manhattan, Fracked

Imagine walking down the streets of Manhattan and bumping up against a well pad every 20 blocks.

Earthjustice recently published this map to help Manhattanites understand the implications of fracking upstate.

Earthjustice explained: “If fracking goes forward in New York State, some areas will see very intensive drilling. The attached map shows the estimated well pad density for Tioga, Chemung, and Broome Counties in upstate New York – based on DEC’s own assumptions – as overlaid on a map of Manhattan. This 320-acre spacing is necessary to accommodate the assumed number of wells under DEC’s ‘average’ development scenario, with six wells on every pad. We initially thought that DEC’s projection was a mistake but were told that it was accurate, because it presupposes drilling in multiple layers of shale – not just the Marcellus. In fact, DEC admitted that the density could be greater.”

Each well pad comes complete with around-the-clock noise from heavy machinery, thousands of trucks, and millions of gallons of toxic water injected underground. Our pristine upstate counties will become an industrial wasteland. Please tell the DEC by January 11 what you think of their fracking proposal!

Download Map

Dec 7 / Tina Posterli

The Human Toll of Fracking

Paul, Julie and Criag Saunter 

View more images on our Flickr site

Riverkeeper was proud to stand alongside our fellow advocates and concerned citizens in delivering much needed water to fracking victims in Dimock, Pennsylvania. This delivery was especially poignant because the clean water in the 5,700 gallon truck was sourced from the New York City Watershed.

Cabot Oil & Gas destroyed the water supplies of 11 families in Dimock when it began fracking for natural gas there in 2008. The families’ water supplies became contaminated, making it impossible for them to drink as well as do normal, everyday things such as take a bath, clean the dishes or simply wash their hands. Their water has been found to contain hazardous levels of methane gas, heavy metals, radioactive material and other toxic chemicals such as ethylene glycol – also known as antifreeze.

On November 30, Cabot ceased making clean water deliveries to the Dimock families with approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), even though earlier this year, the agency found them to be at fault for the contamination.

Clean water is a resource we’ve all been guilty of taking for granted. What we witnessed in Dimock paints a portrait of what it would be like to live in a “fracked New York” and drives the human toll of fracking home to us all.
Look for the upcoming “Cabot Counter” on the Riverkeeper website that will tally the number of days the families in Dimock are denied water delivery from Cabot Gas and Oil; the water that is their basic human right, water they now have to pay for.

We urge everyone to get their comments on the proposed fracking regulations and environmental impact statement to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens by January 11, 2012 and to call on them to heed the lessons learned in places like Dimock before it is too late.

Dec 2 / Tina Posterli


(NYC & Dimock, PA)— It wasn’t a flood or natural disaster that left more than a dozen families in Dimock, PA without clean drinking water. The disaster in Dimock was caused by the Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation’s use of the hazardous gas drilling method known as fracking.  Since 2008 the well water of eleven families has been contaminated with toxic chemicals, flammable gas, and radioactive material. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Conservation found Cabot to be at fault for the contamination, and for the past three years the gas company has been forced to supply weekly deliveries of drinking water to the families. But last month, the PA DEP cut a deal with Cabot, allowing them to stop the water deliveries as of November 30th—leaving the Dimock families with only the toxic, flammable water that has given them headaches and caused skin sores, with the potential for serious long term health effects.

With their last water delivery quickly running out, citizens throughout the region have stepped in to help.  On December 6th, Mark Ruffalo, actor and founder of Water Defense, and Gasland Director Josh Fox will join other advocates to deliver clean drinking water from New York State to the eleven Dimock families. 

*Press event will be held on the steps of City Hall at 9:30am, with buses bringing NYC water to Dimock, arriving at 2:30pm for second press event.

Who: Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are Alright), Josh Fox (Gasland), Dimock fracking victims, Craig & Julie Sautner, NYC City Council, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Water Defense, United for Action, National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Delaware Riverkeepers

What: Celebrities, Advocates bring pristine New York Water to Dimock, PA fracking victims

WhereNYC Press Event @ 9:30am

Steps of City Hall, Manhattan, NY

Dimock, PA Press Event @ 2:30pm

Home of fracking victims, Craig & Julie Saunter

1101 Carter Road, Dimock, PA

When: Tuesday, December 6th


9:30am NYC Press Event on City Hall Steps

10:30pm Buses with celebrities, advocates bringing NYC water depart for Dimock

2:30pm Dimock, PA Press Conference where advocates will replenish water tanks


Nov 11 / Riverkeeper

Panel Criticizes Slow Response to Protect Public from Fracking Dangers

On November 10, 2011, the industry-dominated U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) advisory panel on fracking released its second report, which expressed mild frustration at the pace of government and industry’s efforts to implement the panel’s August 2011 recommendations.  “Progress to date is less than the Subcommittee hoped,” the panel asserted, “and it is not clear how to catalyze action at a time when everyone’s attention is focused on economic issues, the press of daily business, and an upcoming election.”

The report again validated many of the environmental and health concerns that have been raised by environmental groups and other industry watchdogs.  The panel, composed mostly of experts with close ties to the shale gas extraction industry, reiterated its finding that “concerted and sustained action is needed to avoid excessive environmental impacts of shale gas production.”

The panel specifically criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) recently proposed air pollution limits related to shale gas drilling because the rules do not directly control methane emissions or cover currently existing shale gas sources.  The report also noted that the present arrangement of shared federal and state responsibility for cradle-to-grave water quality is not working as well as it should.  For instance, there has not been enough progress in baseline testing of water around shale gas wells before they are drilled, noting the lack of a clear division of authority over water wells between state, local, and federal governments.

Despite the obstacles to action, the panel did highlight small progress made in implementing its recommendations including:

• The Department of Interior intends to require disclosure of all chemicals in fracturing fluid used on federal lands, not just those that appear on Material Safety Data Sheets.

• On October 20, 2011 EPA announced a schedule for setting wastewater discharge standards that will affect some shale gas production activities.

The panel acknowledged 90 days wasn’t sufficient time to fully implement its recommendations, but pointed out that early application of certain steps would help further the process and could encourage the adoption of the more complicated proposals in their report. ”To ensure the full benefits to the American people, environmental issues need to be addressed now—especially in terms of waste water, air quality and community impact,” said Panel Chairman John Deutch in a statement.

Environmentalists, though optimistic about the panel’s findings, continue to criticize the panel for its failure to address the health impacts associated with fracking.

View the complete report.


Oct 26 / yvonneking

250+ Doctors urge Governor Cuomo not to frack with our health

The medical community has joined the rising number of voices urging caution and careful study of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Over 250 health professionals have delivered a letter to Governor Cuomo expressing their strong concern with the omission of a health impacts analysis from the revised draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), the document which would guide fracking in NY.

In the letter, dated October 5, the doctors requested that the state appoint an independent party, such as a school of public health, to conduct a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on NY’s fracking proposal. The request for an HIA is in response to a refusal by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to include a study of health impacts in the SGEIS.

The group went on to call for the Governor and the state environmental agency (DEC) to extend the 90-day comment period for the SGEIS to 180 days in order to allow the medical profession to fully examine the statement in its entirety. They also urged that a doctor with public health experience be assigned to the High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel.

Among the reasons for their appeal, the doctors cited mounting evidence from other states of the negative health effects on residents who live near drilling operations, the precedent set by states such as Colorado and Alaska that have included an HIA during the environmental review process, and the EPA’s suggestion that the DOH act as co-lead with the DEC during the review to help determine the health impacts associated with hydrofracking.

You can click here to read the full text of the letter to Governor Cuomo

Oct 21 / Chambers

The Fracking Roundup

Yesterday was a big day for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) news – with the NY Times exposing a fracking mortgage threat, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. calling out the industry, and a federal rule announcement on fracking wastewater. Here is a roundup of Riverkeeper’s top three news items from October 20:

  • A report in the NY Times by Ian Urbina revealed that the rush to drill has created serious conflicts between mortgage rules and gas drilling leases. Homeowners who have signed leases may find themselves in technical default of their mortgages, making it difficult for them to sell or refinance their home. On the heels of this report, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) sent letters to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requesting an examination of the mortgage rules governing gas drilling and how they will affect the more than one million gas leases signed between gas drilling companies and property owners in NY.
  • Riverkeeper’s Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., called out the fracking industry for its bad acts in a Huffington Post blog. RFK, Jr. writes that the gas companies have made the “opposite” of environmental protection their status quo.
  • In a positive development, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would set a national standard for disposal of toxic fracking wastewater. Wastewater remains a significant issue in NY, as even DEC admits the state currently does not have any wastewater treatment plants equipped to treat fracking wastes.
Oct 6 / Bell

Calling all Kids: Speak out Against the Fracking Rush before December 1, 2011

Riverkeeper is launching a Kids Care about fracking campaign and we need your help.  Please forward this message to all the kids you know.

If you are a kid, we are asking you to write to Governor Cuomo and let him know why New York State shouldn’t rush the fracking process. Riverkeeper knows that you deserve the chance to have your voices heard and to demand a healthy environment with clean water to drink. Adult leaders that give industry the green light to frack for natural gas without needed protections will not pay the price of dirty water, air, and land – you will!

Please write the Governor and let him know what clean water means to you and how bad fracking can impact your water. You can include a picture or photo or anything else you think will help express what you have to say.   Riverkeeper will select some of the best letters to feature in our Don’t Frack With NY Water! Campaign, so please send a copy of the letters to us as well at:

20 Secor Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562.

You can write to Governor Cuomo at:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

We are accepting letters until December 1, 2011.

Claim your right to a future with clean water!

Your own words are always better, but here are some hints:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

My name is______________.  I am ___ years old and live in ____.  I love water because _____.  I am concerned that bad fracking will destroy my water.  Please do not let that happen.

Yours truly,