Lung Association Expresses Concern Over Air Pollution From Fracking

Statement by Jeffrey Seyler, CEO, American Lung Association in New York

(January 11, 2012)

In response to the Revised Draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on The Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program in New York (dSGEIS), Jeffrey Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association in New York, released the following statement:

Today, we submitted comments to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) voicing the Lung Association’s serious concerns that DEC’s draft plan for hydraulic fracturing in New York contains troubling air quality deficiencies that must be corrected before any standards governing extraction are finalized. 

As written, this plan will increase air pollution in the state, placing residents’ health at serious risk.  DEC’s draft plan neglects to cumulatively assess or mitigate the negative impacts to air quality in drilling communities.  It is also lacking essential air quality monitoring that is needed to ensure New Yorkers will not breathe in harmful emissions from this process.  Perhaps most significantly, the dSGEIS completely fails to assess the substantial air pollution that will occur with the tens of millions of truck trips that will take place with high volume drilling.

Unless these issues are addressed in the final standards, we believe that there is a very real and unacceptable risk that the air emissions will make people sick and shorten the lives of those living in the communities where the extraction will take place.

More than 2.5 million New Yorkers now suffer from lung diseases including asthma, COPD and lung cancer.  What’s more, our State of the Air Report 2011 found that nearly half of the state’s residents live in areas where air pollution threatens their lives and health.  We’re concerned that this plan, as proposed, would increase pollution in areas of the state that now benefit from clean air.  Such an outcome is unacceptable.

For the sake of the public’s health, we urge the DEC to conduct a more thorough assessment of the emissions impacts and release its findings for public comment.  We believe that this is an essential step that must be taken before the state moves forward with any plan for hydraulic fracturing and begins issuing permits.

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Editor’s note:  The Lung Association’s comments submitted to DEC regarding the dSGEIS can be found here at www.alany.org.