For the first time, New York legislators
joined Catskill Mountainkeeper and other environmental groups to tell
Governor Paterson that the DSGEIS for horizontal gas drilling is deeply
flawed. At a press conference today at 11:00 AM on the steps of
New York City Hall, New York city, county, state and federal legislators
representing districts across the state challenged the ability of the
study to protect the people of New York and called on the Governor for
an extensive and thorough review of gas drilling's cumulative impacts
on water, air and land.
Speakers included Congressmen Eric
Massa, Michael Arcuri and Jerrold Nadler, State Senators Tom Duane and
Eric Schneiderman, Assemblymen James Brennan and William Colton, Tompkins
County Legislator Martha Robertson, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn,
NYC Council Chair of Environmental Committee Janes Gennaro, NYC Council
Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer,
and former Council Member Tony Avella. Gregory Meyer, Legislative Counsel
for State Senator Jose Serrano, and Wendi Paster, Chief of Staff for
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, read statements of support.
Though unable to attend, Bronx Borough
President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Assembly Members Barbara Lifton and Sam Hoyt
sent additional statements of support.
Many legislators added their voices
to the request made to Governor Paterson last month by 25 environmental
organizations asking the Governor to withdraw the DSGEIS. Representatives
of five of the environmental groups also spoke at the press conference,
including Kate Sinding, NRDC Senior Attorney, who moderated the event,
Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper Program Director, Annie Wilson,
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Energy Chair, Alex Mathiessen, Riverkeeper
President, and Deborah Goldberg, Earthjustice Managing Attorney.
Wes Gillingham called on Governor Paterson
to withdraw the document in its entirety and resubmit a new document
that will satisfy the requirements of the State Environmental Quality
Review Act (SEQRA). He further stated, "New York City is not the only
community that is totally dissatisfied with the flawed DSGEIS and asked
the DEC to prepare comprehensive regulations that are fully protective
and provide for a sustainable future for all of our state's water
bodies and other ecological resources."
This event marked the first time the
environmental community has come together with New York's legislators
at city, county, state and federal levels as one united bloc on the
horizontal gas drilling issue. Other organizations echoing similar concerns
are the EPA and the DEC's own Steward Council of Div.189, representing
2000 of the DEC's scientific, professional and technical workers.