To: Thomas W. Libous <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Esq. <email@example.com>
Kate Sinding, Esq. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Eric A. Goldstein, Esq. <email@example.com>
Mark Brownstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thomas J. Santulli <email@example.com>
Robert B. Catell <Robert.Catell@stonybrook.edu>
Mark K. Boling, Esq. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jeff Williams <email@example.com>
Bradley Gill <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Heather Briccetti <email@example.com>
Honorable Donna Lupardo <LupardoD@assembly.state.ny.us>
Hon. Kathleen McGinty, J. D. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James B. Bays <email@example.com>
To: Members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel (Hon. Thomas W. Libous, Hon. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Esq., Hon. Kate Sinding, Esq., Hon. Eric A. Goldstein, Esq., Hon. Mark Brownstein, Hon. Thomas J. Santulli, Hon. Donna Lupardo, Hon. Robert B. Catell, Hon. Mark K. Boling, Esq., Hon. Bradley Gill, Hon. Heather Briccetti, Hon. Kathleen McGinty, J. D., Hon. Jeff Williams, Hon. James B. Bays.)
My name is _________. I write today because ___________.
There is growing concern that an improper and inadequate "health impact analysis" Review being conducted by Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah will be used to permit shale fracking in New York without adequate safeguards.
I very respectfully write to request that members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel take immediate action to require Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to:
a) halt Dr. Shah's DOH Review because it has been conducted in secret without any public input, has unacceptable major shortcomings and cannot fulfill its mandates; and
b) resolve High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) health concerns once and for all by undertaking a comprehensive, open and transparent "Public Health Impact Study."
DOH Review Would be Informed by Three Shockingly Incomplete HVHF Health Impact Studies
Three "comprehensive studies" that Dr. Shah claimed would "assist in informing" his DOH Review are shockingly incomplete.
On 2/12/13, Dr. Shah wrote DEC Commissioner Martens that one of the reasons his DOH Review had not been completed was that he wanted to review "the first comprehensive studies of HVHF health impacts...(emphasis added) and receive "first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York Review (emphasis added)."
He specifically cited an extensive investigation by Geisinger Health Systems "which cares for many patients in areas where shale gas is being developed in Pennsylvania, [and] is undertaking studies to analyze health records for asthma and other respiratory diseases, accidents and injuries, as well as birth outcomes (emphasis added)."
He said that his Review would be completed "within a few weeks..."
On 6/19/13, Associated Press reported that Geisinger only has $1.0 million out of $25.0 million required to undertake its proposed studies. The Geisinger investigation obviously has not progressed far enough to inform Dr. Shah about anything.
The two other studies are equally incomplete. The Environmental Protection Agency's study reportedly will not be done until at least 2016.
DOH Review Fails to Fulfill its Mandates
There can be no dispute that Dr. Shah's Review fails to fulfill its mandates to:
a) address "any legitimate request for additional due diligence and study…(emphasis added);"
b) ensure that "DEC's ultimate decision on hydraulic fracturing is beyond reproach either as a matter of law or as policy (emphasis added);
c) allow DEC to avail "ourselves of the best possible advice from the private and academic sectors (emphasis added);" and
d) "… result in the most thorough review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the nation…(emphasis added)."
Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel Has Responsibility to Address DOH Review Shortcomings
Members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel have a clear responsibility to address the shortcomings of the DOH Review because Dr. Shah wrote:
"In particular we are focused on the relationship of HVHF to the health impacts of drinking water contamination, but also other areas such as air quality and community impacts (emphasis added)."
Among other responsibilities, the Advisory Panel is charged with:
"developing recommendations to ensure DEC and other agencies are enabled to properly oversee, monitor and enforce high-volume hydraulic fracturing activities;"
"developing recommendations to avoid and mitigate impacts to local governments and communities (emphasis added)."
Given the major shortcomings of Dr. Shah's Review detailed herein, it is imperative that Governor Cuomo halt the fatally flawed DOH Review and require New York State to conduct its own comprehensive, open and transparent shale fracturing "Public Health Impact Study" without further delay.
Dr. Shah observed: "The time to ensure the impacts on public health are properly considered is before (emphasis in the original) a state permits drilling." That concern is of paramount importance because Governor Cuomo stated on 5/22/13 that Dr. Shah's Review "should be done in the next several weeks."
If you are unable to persuade Governor Cuomo to resolve the grave shortcomings of the DOH Review, you should consider resigning your position because the Advisory Panel obviously would not be worthy of its purpose.
Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
cc: Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Honorable Joseph Martens
Honorable Nirav R. Shah