Councilman Gennaro continues the fight against the dangers of hydrofracking.
Press Release: City Council Member James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Chairman of the City Council Committee on Environmental Protection, called on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to establish crucial safeguards to protect New York City’s water supply system from some of the worst effects of the process of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF), also known as fracking.
In a letter sent to NYSDEC before the Jan. 11 deadline for comment on the agency’s proposed Revised High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations, Gennaro backed the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (NYCDEP) proposed 7-mile buffer zone to safeguard much of the city’s Upstate vital water tunnels from possible increased seismic activity caused by fracking practices.
However, in order to minimize the chance of catastrophic damage to city’s Upstate water tunnels and aqueducts, which provide 1 billion gallons of water each day to 9 million New Yorkers, Gennaro called for the 7-mile buffer zone to be extended to cover even more of the system.
Currently, NYCDEP proposes a 7-mile buffer for parts of the water system, and a “hybrid” approach for other parts of the water supply system, which would include an immediate buffer zone of 2 miles where no fracking would be allowed, plus a 5-mile zone where fracking could possibly occur subject to further environmental review and increased safeguards. Gennaro prefers that the 7-mile buffer be employed to protect all critical Upstate water supply infrastructure.
“While I respect and appreciate NYCDEP’s good efforts to advocate for the protection of the city’s water supply infrastructure, and its current position to continue to call for the 7-mile buffer for the most critical elements of the water supply infrastructure, I am uncomfortable with the hybrid approach and the additional risk it brings to water supply infrastructure protected by the hybrid approach,”Gennaro said. “Also, with no apparent financial mechanism to pay for possible multi-billion dollar damage to the system from fracking other than New York City water rate-payers, it is unacceptable, in my view, for the city to assume any additional risk to the system.”
Gennaro, who first spoke out on the issue of fracking in June 2008, is featured in the award-winning 2010 documentary, “Gasland,” which focuses on communities impacted by natural gas drilling.