County sending recommendations to DEC
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO After tweaking the resolution, legislators unanimously agreed on Thursday to draft a letter to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of its update of gas drilling regulations.
The letter will be added to the minutes of the December 4 scoping session to be held by the DEC at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for what is expected to be a hefty turnout of people concerned with gas drilling.
The resolution adopted Thursday notes both the significant potential profits and environmental risks associated with gas drilling, which pleased legislators and the Delaware River corridor township officials who had already reviewed it.
Out of the nine recommendations created for the DEC by the Sullivan County Gas Drilling Task Force, county leaders only changed two.
Legislators Alan Sorensen and Frank Armstrong felt the DEC should evaluate the environmental practices of fracking fluid storage and transportation not just within 100- and 500-year floodplains but everywhere, so that recommendation was changed accordingly.
Also, County Planning Commissioner Bill Pammer said the Division of Health and Family Services added “public health” to a recommendation to assess the social and economic impacts of drilling.
Now it’s up to the DEC to incorporate these recommendations into its SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement), which will be used to regulate the gas drilling industry in New York State.
The recommendations are as follows:
• Assess the impacts of pipelines, transmission lines, compressor stations and accidental spills/emissions related to gas drilling
• Evaluate sound environmental practices of storage and transportation of fracking fluids, particularly within 100-year and 500-year floodplains
• Assess the cumulative impacts of truck traffic on roads and bridges
• Assess a way for the DEC to notify municipalities of new drilling applications (rather than waiting until the application has been approved)
• Determine how to require drilling companies to notify municipalities of a permit approval and coordinate on local permitting
• Evaluate methods to include, within drilling applications, statements from affected municipalities regarding potential impacts and ways to address those impacts
• Assess impacts on aquifers and wells
• Assess the social, public health and economic impacts during and after drilling
• Assess impacts on municipal services due to activities ancillary to drilling operations.