Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Testimony by BH -- 1/10/2013 Committee on Environmental Conservation

Hon. Chairman Robert K. Sweeney
Committee  on  Environmental  Conservation 
Hon. Chairman Richard N. Gottfried
Committee  on  Health 
Hon. Chairman Charles D. Lavine 
Assembly Administrative Regulations Review Commission 
Hon. Commissioner Martens
Department of Environmental Conservation

Public Hearing on DEC's proposed High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing regulations
Comments by William Huston

Jan. 10, 2012

Commissioner Martens,
hairmen and Members of these Committees:

Thank you for holding this hearing,
Special recognition to you all for giving this matter your attention
and listening to the people's concern

Science is great!  //  But Science is not complete or infallable

  • Concert of Concurrence (industry, academics, environmentalists, DEC/Governor):
    "We should Trust the Science.

  • Caution: Cult of Creditionalism works against both Science and Democracy
  • Science is like Democracy.
    • Democracy began as a regection of (Royal) class
      • We can rule ourselves!
      • We can "choose our own governors and cashier them for misconduct"
        -- Edward Price, quoted by Thomas Paine, Rights of Man 
    • Science rejects the revealed truth and special class of the clergy
      • We can figure this out ourselves!
      • Appeal to REASON of the individual self, the conscious observer.
      • This "appeal to peer-reviewed science" as being final arbiter of truth actual attempts to foster CLASS which is against basic scientific principles.

  • Class and Dogma => rejected by both Science and Democracy
  • Egalitarianism, Authority of Reason of the Conscious Observer, the common citizen.
  • YES! Science is a useful tool!

    The belief in the absolute authority of science, is DOGMA

    • This works against the basic principle of science:
    • Appeal to the reason of the individual observer.

    • Anyone who believes in the Infallibility, Completeness,  or Certainty of Science
      has not been keeping up with the literature. (Heisenberg,
    • Science sometimes doesn't know what is right. (Thomas Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions)  
    • Science sometimes talks in meaningless GIBBERISH. (Kurt Gödel, Incompleteness Theorems)
    • Science is based on unprovable axioms. (David Hume)
    • Science truths are Falsifiable. (Karl Popper's Criterion)
    • Science cannot make predictions w/o models, based on data
      • The ability to destroy and entomb NOMINALLY hundreds of billions of gallons
        of our precious drinking water
        has never been possessed by humans ever before the history of planet earth.
      • These data do not exist!
      • Without these data, science is CLUELESS.
        We cannot move ahead with this activity.
Water Contamination, Health Impacts, & Abuses to Property Rights
are RAMPANT in Pennsylvania

  • Home are being ABANDONED / NOT LIVEABLE
    See Appendix 1: MLS from HELL.

  • Lots of anecdotal data of harms. Check the "List of the Harmed", now at over 750 families:

    => Dozens who are NOT on this list

  • e.g., Patty Klotz of Warren Center Pennsylvania\
     This is the stuff drained off the well site into a creek in a glen behind her house.
    Her dog drank this, had seizures and died.
    Warren Center PA: Fracking Flowback dumped on the road outside Patty Klotz' house.

    Warren Center PA drains North into Nichols and Waverly NY

    Looking out Pat Klotz' front window, at a drill rig ~500' away.
    NY regs allow drill pads to be constructed 500' from a house.

Special protections for certain watersheds in the proposed regs
based on CLASS and NOT SCIENCE

  • "Filtration Avoidance Determination" for the NYC watershed
    • Basis "Our water is better quality than yours, so ours deserves special protection"

  • The distinction of a principle aquifer and a primary aquifer is based on class.
    • Arbitrary distinctions, based purely on population density.

The NY Regulations do nothing to protect NY Citizens from
impacts going on upstream in Pennsylvania.

  • When you are looking at the source of one's drinking water in NY,
    you should be talking about one's Aquifers, plus the ENTIRE UPSTREAM DRAINAGE BASIN(aka, "Watershed"

    (cf. )

  • Industry and the Environmentalists all agree the greatest area of concern in the short term  is the surface waters, not just the aquifers.
  • NYC properly asserts police powers over its Watershed

  • There are presently 98 inconventional wells INSIDE the watershed of the City of Binghamton:

  • There are several sites of KNOWN CONTAMINATION inside Binghamtons' watershed
    • Franklin Forks (Franklin Twp) PA -- many sites
      • Depue 8H failed casing
      • Heavenly Angels Store and Restaurant -- arsenic, barium, other heavy metals in water
      • Mannings' well, explosive levels of methane, heavy metal contamination
    • Silver Lake Township: four blowouts, spilling thousands of gallons of drilling muds
    • Black water in Great Bend Borough -- several homes during drilling of the Baptist Hill well

  • The Drilling and Fracking going on inside Binghamton's watershed, and these contamination incidents
    would be considered a FELONY, likely TERRORISM and would deserve a
    POLICE POWERS RESPONSE within the NYC watershed.
The proposed regs do nothing to protect
  • 190,000 NYers presently AT RISK from upstream drilling operations in Pennsylvania
The proposed regs do little to protect
  • 270,000 NYers presently AT RISK downstream from Landfills and Leachate Fields
    of contaminated drill cuttings from PA

  • Total 400,000 NYers presently at risk.
Proper setback from a watershed is 4,000' to Seven Miles
  • A ban within, and 4000' setback from a watershed=> a good idea!

  • NOTE WELL: NYC/SYR 4000' setback is in the SGEIS, NOT IN THE REGULATIONS.
    • Thus can be overridden with a site-specific EIS.
    • On 2-2012 The 19 members of the Delaware County Board of supervisors stated their intention
      to frack the NYC watershed, drinking water for 7B people, 
      or demand the ridiculous sum of $81 B in reparations!

  • At the last hearing like this, officials from NYC suggested a 7 miles well setback from aqueducts. 
    • Due to the presence of natural faults and fractures which are due to micro seismic events,
      common in this area. GOOD! even better.

  • The NY State Constitution and the US Constitution guarantees equal protection of the law.
  • If all watersheds in NY State got the same protections as NYC, there would be a 4000' from the state line.

  • Some of the greatest quality of life impacts are from gas pipelines, refineries, and compressor stations.
  • "Pipe" is mentioned 7 times -- NONE ARE ABOUT GAS PIPELINES!
    • 2 definitions  water pipe (560.2(b)(25) /casing pipe (750-3.2(b)(6))
    • 2 records/maps of flowback pipelines  (560.3(c)(2)) (750-3.8(c)(6))
    • 1 incident reporting (560.5(c))
    • 2 record keeping of incoming water  (750-3.8(c)(1) and flowback waste pipeline  (560.5(g))
  • "Compressor" is mentioned 2 times
    • 560.3(a)(13) Required Information on the permit about connected pipelines
    • 560.6(c)(29) Requirement for a "Reduced emissions completion"
  • DEC should be Lead Agency and work with PSC to create a comprehensive set of regulations for pipelines and compressor stations.


  • Yet, this is what the Regs attempt to do. 
  • 750-3.12 Disposal of HVHF wastewater
    (a) All HVHF wastewater must be treated, recycled, or otherwise properly disposed through the life of the well in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws.
    (b) The discharge of flowback to the ground is prohibited. The discharge of drilling fluids, formation fluids and production brine to the ground is prohibited, EXCEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF A B.U.D. (Beneficial Use Determination).

  • must Act from the HEART, not just the HEAD :)
    There are many more Dimensions to our Experience than our intellect.

    • When a young mother is deciding what kind of food to give her baby,
      she is NOT using peer-reviewed white papers as part of her decision making.

    • She is using sight, sound, smells, taste, all of her senses, her memories, her instincts
      and YES her reason too.

  • Science in the Long Term:
    Anecdotal Evidence and Precautionary Principle in the Short Term

    • Science has a 5-10 year lag time
      for published papers and peer reviewed reports
    • This stuff is happening RIGHT NOW, we something more rapid in our decision making
    • In the short term, we must use ANECDOTAL DATA

  • All citizens should enjoy a 4000' setback from their watershed, i.e., a 4,000' setback from the State Line.

    This would be the equivalent of a
    BAN ON FRACKING within New York State.

APPENDIX A: MLS FROM HELL: (Humorous look at a very real problem)

Our first listing! 1101 Carter Road, Dimock. Cute 3 bedroom ranch.
New construction. Utilities: all gas. Price: $XX,XXX -- YOU CAN'T BUY IT!
 because it's NOT FOR SALE! (contaminated water due to gas drilling)
Just added! YOUR DREAM HOME! 3 bedroom split level, 1.5 bath, attached garage.
Beautiful Pipeline right-of-way amenity! You can't live here! It's not for sale!
(Water+Septic destroyed by pipeline)
Check this new listing! 224 Paradise Road, Terry Township, Bradford County.
Spacious 5 bedroom, 2 full baths. 3 car garage! New construction. Utilities: all gas.
Price: $XXX,XXX -- Don't you wish! YOU CAN'T BUY IT! because it's

Despite the present moratorium.
This is 2% of the state, 1:50.

NY Municipalities downstream from PA fracking operations:

Painted Post 1,811

Corning 11,187

big flats 7,224
West of Waverly:
59,565 #includes ½ waverly
horseheads 6,461
East of Waverly:
128,436 # includes ½ waverly
elmira 29,204
# total number of Nyers living downstream of PA fracking operations:
lowman 1,459
waverly 4,437

nichols 512

owego 3,890
West of Waverly:
apalachin 1,131
North of Angelica
vestal 28,043
Total NY citizens dowsntream of Landfills taking PA drill cuttings.
endicott 13,285

endwell 11,446

johnson city 15,053
Total NY citiznes downstream of either landfills accepting PA drill cuttings or Fracking in PA
binghamton 47,000

kirkwood 5,857
* numbers do not sum perfectly due to some  overlap

total 188,000

Appendix C: Watershed Maps

Major NY - PA Watersheds: 
1: Ohio River, 2: Susquehanna River + Potomoc River = Chesapeake Bay,
3: Delaware River, Delaware Bay, 4: Hudson River -> Bay of NY (Upper/Lower)
5: Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, St. Lawrence River

Fracking would potentially remove HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF GALLONS OF WATER
from these watersheds -- FOREVER, also introduce toxins and cut trees.
This could CLIMATE CHANGE in terms of Desertification.

NYC and Syracuse Watersheds are high quality and thus deserve "special protections"

according to the proposed regulations.

All other NY watersheds get fracked, with small carvouts for principle aquifers.

(Note the SYR watershed is in Onongaga County, within the Oswego River Watershed)

If all persons in NY enjoyed Equal Protection of the Law, as guaranteed by the NY and US Constitutions,
then all watersheds in NY would get the same protections as NYC and SYR, i.e.,
there would be a 4,000' setback from the state line.

No comments: