NYS SENATE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS HEARING July
Larysa Dyrszka MD Lar917dy@gmail.com Thank you Senator Avella, for the invitation to speak. My presentation gives the timeline, with supporting documentation, of requests for discourse with
scientists and doctors, and for inclusion of health impact studies in the SGEIS. Timeline with documents: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Fall200S Scoping and Assembly EnCon hearings Fall 2009 NYS DEC hearings on the dSGEIS March 2010 EPA HF study announced June 72010 AAP District II NYS Memo of support for Al0490/S7592 December 13 2010 Gov. Paterson Executive Order 41 February 28 2011 letter to Dr Shah March 242011 meeting with Commissioner Martens and Dep Commissioner Leff April 12 2011 Letter to LD from Dr Freed NYS DOH CEH May 26 2011 NYSAssembly hearing on health impacts of HF June 3 2011 Meeting at DOH CEH June 142011 Sweeney Gottfried letter to Gov. Cuomo September 2011 rdSGEIS released September 9 2011 NYSDOH internal memo to HFAP October 5 2011 Letter to Gov. Cuomo health professionals November 16 2011 Letter to Gov. Cuomo cancer organizations January 5 2012 CEHD report prepared for HFAP January 12 2012 NYSACHO report prepared for HFAP March 2012 support for HIA in NYS budget from many medical groups July 2012 letter to Gov. Cuomo from over 300 doctors moratorium on HF
In October 2008 Wes Gillingham called attention to the lack of health impacts studies, and called for a Health Impact Assessment, for the first time in NY State to my knowledge, in his testimony to the Assembly EnCon Committee (attachment 2). He wrote that the following needed to be addressed: Cumulative Impacts, Natural resources inventory, Health Impact analysis, Production Water disposal, DEC staffing, Local control. Wes proceeded to describe the process, rationale and value added by doing a Health Impact Assessment.
There were essentially no independent the dSGEIS hearings.
health experts and medical doctors involved in the scoping of
the SGEIS. I became aware of this issue only in the fall of 2009 when a neighbor saw a CMK notice about
Finding the dSGEIS online, I looked for the chapter on human health, and found none. health information contamination Fortunately, development in the dSGEISwas nearly impossible, so I focused my testimony attachment 3). document that were glaringly omitted,
on aspects of the
such as children and other vulnerable populations, water and air
and radon (Oct 2009 testimony
some of my neighbors and colleagues in the Catskills understood the science of gas and the implications for public health. In addition, we had first-hand reports from people
already being impacted in Pennsylvania, and we grew increasingly concerned that the subject of public health was missing in the dSGEIS. In another area of the state, Ithaca, another group of doctors and scientists had similar thoughts. There were few other doctors and independent agencies. by our representative to scientists even aware of the fracking issue; no one in NY State was conducting research on this; doctors' and independent scientists' opinions had not been sought by any governmental
We were pleased when the EPA announced the HF study which was promoted comprehensive, moratoria it was the first such national study to be undertaken.
Congress, Maurice Hinchey. Though initially limited to water impacts of HF, and far from being Counties and towns endorsed pending the results of the study. A bill was presented to the NYS Legislature for a moratorium In May I asked George Dunkel, Executive Director of the could look at 4).
pending the EPA study (A10490/S7592).
American Academy of Pediatrics District II which includes all of NY State if the organization This was the first time that a medical organization basis. Over the next months support for the moratorium moratorium to the one year moratorium
that bill. Within a short period, the AAP NYS had issued a memo of support for the bill (attachment had become involved in this issue on an advocacy
grew, though support changed from the two year
not tied to the EPA study. That bill passed both houses, first
the Senate and then the Assembly, in the fall of 2010. But Governor Paterson vetoed it, instead, issuing Executive Order 41 http:Uwww.governor.ny.gov/archive/paterson/executiveorders/E041.html (attachment 5) on December 13th, 2010 which in essence resulted in a defacto moratorium. The Resolution stated that: 1. The Department shall complete its review of the public comments, make such revisions to the Draft SGEIS that are necessary to analyze comprehensively the environmental impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, ensure that such impacts are appropriately avoided or mitigated consistent with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), other provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and other laws, and ensures that adequate regulatory measures are identified to protect public health and the environment; and On or about June 1, 2011, the Department shall publish a Revised Draft SGEIS, accept public comment on the revisions for a period of not less than thirty days, and may schedule public hearings on such revisions to be conducted in the Marcellus shale region and New York City; and
3. Recognizing that, pursuant to SEQRA, no permits may be issued prior to the completion of a Final SGEIS,the Department, subsequent to the conclusion of the public comment period, shall report to the Governor on the status of the Final SGEISand the regulatory conditions that are necessary to include in oil and gas well permits to protect public health and the environment.
We were encouraged by the Governor's reference to public health protections, In time, a growing number of medical professionals became aware of the gas drilling and fracking issue. In February 2011 concerned doctors, scientists and environmental NYS DOH Commissioner (attachment groups sent a letter to Dr Nirav Shah, 6). The purpose of the letter was to inform Dr Shah of the
potential health impacts and to request that the DOH become a co-lead agency since it was becoming evident from new studies in Colorado and reports elsewhere that public health was threatened, Additionally, the signatories which numbered in the thousands requested that the SGEISbe withdrawn and the process begun again with the inclusion, among other studies, of a Health Impact Assessment. We also asked for a meeting with Dr Shah. On March raised. Supplementing via emails. I received a letter from Dr Howard Freed, Director of the DOH's Center for Environmental April 12, 2011 (attachment 7), acknowledging the information Health on the letter, additional information about the process of HIA was sent to the DEC and DOH
Walter Hang and Bill Perkus arranged a meeting with Commissioner Martens and Health concerns were
Deputy Commissioner leff to which several additional people were invited.
sent and assuring us that public health
issues are a priority and that the DOH has been involved with the DEC in the SGEISprocess, and that DOH will not be a co-lead agency on the document. In addition, the letter stated that "The DEC is in the process of addressing the public comments received to the draft SGEISand preparing a revised draft for public comment. The DOH is assisting DEC in the revisions to the draftSGEIS. DEC will make the new SGEISpublicly available for comment. "Environmental statement. and health issues like the ones you have raised will be addressed in the impact measures to mitigate any We urge that you comment on the new draft when it comes out. health impacts that is being conducted as part of the such as Health Impact Assessment would
This document will describe the precautions and protective review of potential information
significant potential impacts identified. Also, in view of the thorough provide significant additional
SGEISprocess, we do not believe that another methodology
that is not already being covered."
And we were offered a meeting at the CEH. On June 3rd 2011 Dr Ron Bishop and I met with Mr Robert Chinery, Dr Adela Salamle-Alfie, Dr Jan Storm
and Dr Freed. For most of the meeting Dr Bishop and I presented our concerns with little information from the CEH. Toward the end of the meeting I again asked about the possibility of including a Health Impact Assessment and the reply was that health impacts had been addressed in the revised dSGEIS. I
asked if I could see that, and Mr Chinery replied that it will be available for public comment soon. There would be no preview. In the Legislature concerns about health impacts led to a hearing in the NYS Assembly on May on health impacts of HF http:Uwww.gasdriliingtechnotes.org!#nysasshearing column). My testimony is attachment 8.
(see panel in right-hand
Following the hearing, on June 14th, 2011 Members of Assembly and Chairs of EnCon and Health Sweeney and Gottfried sent a letter to the Governor (attachment Health Impact Assessment. Toward the end of September a revised dSGEISwas released by the DEC. We had no preview, and no indication whether any of our comments would be incorporated They were not. Though somewhat improved over the previous version on environmental significant gaps, most glaringly on health impacts. The broad determinants addressed, nor were community wherever gas development nor were any vulnerable is occurring. Children were still not mentioned issues, there still were of human health were not even once in the document, safety in the rdSGEIS. 9) requesting an equal role for the impacts and a DOH and an expanded SGEISwhich should include, among other things, cumulative
impacts which are increasingly being recognized as a major problem Social and environmental justice issues received no attention.
Worker safety with regard to radioactivity issues, health infrastructure
and silica sand exposure, as well as transportation diseases were not mentioned.
and sexually transmitted
Since the release of the 2009 dSGEIS,there have been several peer-reviewed
papers published on health
and climate change impacts by recognized doctors and scientists such as Roxanna Witter, Theo Colborn, Robert Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea, Renee Santoro, Adam Law, Madelon Finkel, Bernard Goldstein, Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald and others (see the LIBRARYin http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/show regulations. disregarded. In July 2011 Commissioner Martens appointed a Hydrofracking Advisory Panel. The panel included: Public health, independent list!id!35!startl). None of this literature was included in the rdSGEIS, nor was there any provision for emerging research to be included in the SGEISor the scientists and medical professionals continued to be
Eric A. Goldstein - Senior Attorney, Kate Sinding -Senior Attorney, Mark Brownstein
Natural Resources Defense Council Defense Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
- Chief Counsel, Energy Program, Environmental Advocates
Robert Hallman - Board Chair, NY league of Conservation Voters Robert Moore -Executive Director, Environmental Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - President, Waterkeeper Alliance; Honorary member NRDC; Board of LCV Quality under Pres. Clinton
Kathleen McGinty - former Chair of White House Council on Environmental Stan Lundine - former New York State Lieutenant Governor
Thomas W. Libous - New York State Senator (R, District 52) Deputy Majority Leader Donna Lupardo - New York State Assembly member (D, 126th District) Heather Briccetti - Acting President and CEO, Business Council of New York State, Inc. Robert B. Catell- Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at SUNY Stony Brook Mark K. Boling - Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Southwestern Five more people were appointed Energy. of
in mid-August, including two elected officials and a representative association which supports gas drilling.
the oil and gas industry, and another from a landowners' No independent
scientists or health professionals were included on this advisory panel.
A letter was sent to Governor Cuomo on October (attachment
from a large group of health professionals
10) requesting a Health Impact Assessment, and detailing the rationale.
This was followed in November 2011 by another letter to the Governor from cancer survivors and cancer organizations (attachment 11), also asking that health impacts be fully considered.
In October 2011 we became aware http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2011/10/06/report-health-deptneeds-more-funding-for-hydrofracking/ NYS DOH to the Hydrofracking that there will be a need for additional of an internal memo written on September
s". 2011 from
Advisory Panel (HFAP). In this memo, the NVS DOH advised the panel staffing and funds as gas drilling is permitted in NYS. The reason-
-the NVS DOH expected that they will be asked by the DEC to perform the following: 1. Drinking Water and Human Exposure Investigation 2. Toxic Substance Assessment 3. NORM Licensing 4. DOH Program Support Activities 5. Population Health Studies 6. DOH Analytical Lab Services 7. Spills Support 8. Worker Health and Safety 9. Local Health Dept. needs. This list suggests that the DOH anticipated If the DOH anticipated potential problems. might involve the logical study, a and Health Communication
that there would be health impacts, preparation
health impact assessment. Yet they had refused to endorse such a study. According to a witness at that September 9th DOH and HF panel meeting, the DOH was not asked by the Governor, or by the DEC, to do such studies (Rob Moore of EANY, a member of the panel, attested to this). Jon Campbell's report from Oct 5th is attached (12); the DOH internal memo can be accessed here: http://www.scribd.com/doc!67774420!DOH-Resource-Needs-l-2
Recently additional documents surfaced. These were the January
CEHD report and the January Advisory Panel.
NYSACHO report (both attached, 13 and 14) prepared for the Hydrofracking
The HFAP never saw either of these documents. In the NYSACHO report there is reference to the Battlement particularly community about the community Mesa HIA and that their findings, areas of concern at the
and health impacts, would be significant in NY State as well. The
CEHD report does not mention HIA per se but they do refer to anticipated level and the need for preparation.
As the budget was being drafted in March 2012, several organizations called for the inclusion of a Health Impact Assessment in the budget. The Assembly included a $100,000 provision for an HIA; the Senate and Governor did not. Support for an HIA came from the American Academy of Pediatrics NYS District II and other doctors and prominent citizens, the Medical Society of the State of NY, NYS Nurses bill Al0234 for an HIA Association, University of Rochester Medical Center, NYSAcademy of Family Physicians, Healthy Schools Network (letters attached 15-21). Later the NYSAssembly passed a free-standing but the Senate did not move it out of Rules. And neither has the Governor made a move to issue an Executive Order directing that an HIA be done. There would clearly be value added by doing an HIA (rationale with overview of screening and scoping, and value-added table, attachments development 22-23). But NYS leadership must first recognize that gas is a public health issue and must allow health professionals a seat at the table. scientists are overwhelmingly in support of allowing science to direct must
Medical doctors and independent the path this gas development
will take in New York State. But to do that the scientific literature
be embraced and doctors and scientists invited to the table. On Monday a Digest http://www.grassrootsinfo.org/frackingdigest.html health and scientific literature (attachment 24) of recent Education
was presented to the Governor by Grassroots Environmental
(attached press release 25). It is yet another offer to the Governor to look at the science and to meet with highly qualified medical doctors and scientists. The evidence presented here makes a compelling case that the administration given ample opportunity given to them. processes intended to be protective of NY State has been
to read the science that has been handed to them time and time again, and of human health, such as the Health Impact Assessment, have been of thousands of NY conducting discourse with doctors and scientists
But instead of accepting the science and the recommendations with industry and to shut the door to science.
doctors and scientists, and openly and transparently they have chosen to collaborate