NYCLA Environmental Law Committee Urges DEC to Modify Marcellus Shale Drilling Plans

Drilling could negatively impact water supply and availability, and air quality in and outside of New York City

New York, NY, January 20, 2012 --( The Environmental Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) today announced it sent a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in response to the Department’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (SGEIS). The DEC’s Statement addresses drilling, high‐volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) specifically, for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale which is located beneath a large portion of upstate New York. Renowned for its pristine watershed, wildlife and air quality, the Marcellus Shale is a water resource for New York City (NYC) and drilling there in the methods proposed by DEC would adversely impact water supplies, water availability and air quality, both in and outside New York City.

“The Environmental Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association supports initiatives that protect human health and the environment. The Committee opposes, and respectfully requests that the Department of Environmental Conservation not allow high‐volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale,” says Christopher D. Barraza, Esq., Chair, NYCLA’s Environmental Law Committee. “The Committee and NYCLA are concerned about the potentially negative impact of HVHF natural gas drilling in this area on the New York City community and the letter to the DEC is another step in our efforts to advocate on behalf of the New York City community. We hope to work together with the DEC on this issue."

Concerns the Committee addresses in the letter include:

The proposed drilling setback of 4,000 feet from the New York City watershed, and a 1,000 feet setback from the NYC subsurface water‐supply infrastructure. The Committee believes that these proposed setbacks are not sufficiently protective of the NYC watershed or water‐delivery system;

The potential for spills of fracturing fluids and instances of groundwater contamination similar to those that have occurred due to HVHF in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania;

The need for increased scrutiny and public disclosure of the contents of fracturing fluids;

New York State’s insufficient resources to adequately treat wastewater generated by HVHF (flowback). Allowing flowback to be discharged into waterways in the Marcellus Shale could adversely impact the neighboring NYC watershed;

Emissions from drilling activities could impact air quality in NYC

The Committee urges DEC to review these concerns and not allow HVHF in the Marcellus Shale. Alternatively, the Committee requests that DEC revise the SGEIS to better mitigate HVHF‐related health and environmental concerns in and outside of New York City.

About the New York County Lawyers’ Association
The New York County Lawyers' Association ( was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far‐reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

Contact: Ariella Greenbaum (212) 267-6646 x212,

New York County Lawyers Association
Ariella Greenbaum
212-267-6646, ext. 212