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advocacy for natural resources: environmental law


environmental law

Summary of Environmental law

In addition to our action on Hydrofracking, the League  also advocates on a number of other environmental issues.

In 2012, the League supported the EPF Enhancement Act (A.10519/S.7525) and recommended that Governor Cuomo sign the bill into law. The bill, which the governor vetoed, would have provided much-needed additional funding for the state’s Environmental Protection FUND (EPF).

In 2010, the League joined a number of environmental and cancer prevention organizations in urging Governor Patterson and Governor-Elect Cuomo to reconsider the state’s decision to suspend its role in the federal Superfund sites cleanups in NYS.

Earlier in 2010, on the matter of the final environmental impact statement for decommissioning and/or long-term stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center, the League supported the Department of Energy’s decision to shorten the time frame for decision-making as stated in the draft EIS, from 30 years to ten years, if the Phased Decision-Making Alternative was chosen. However, the League still favored Site-Wide Removal of the radioactive and other chemical and hazardous waste at the site, maintaining that the site was unsuitable for storage of such waste because of the high precipitation rate in the area and the geographic instability of the terrain, subject to erosion.

In 2009, the League provided testimony before the New York State Committee on Environmental Conservation regarding clean water. The League testimony called for:

  • A regional watershed approach requiring regulations that cross municipal boundaries
  • Requiring communities to keep their water and sewage infrastructure in good working condition
  • Limiting the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers; and
  • Improving coordination between the various agencies charged to protect our drinking water supplies
Environmental law: Recent Letters, Press Releases, Op Ed Pieces, and Press Coverage
Environmental law: other league materials
Be Earthwise!
Be Earthwise

advocacy for natural resources: hydrofracking


hydrofracking: summary of Current action

Since 2008 the NYS Department of Conservation has been drafting and revising a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the extraction of gas from the Marcellus Shale deposit ,which covers much of the southern tier and the Catskills, including portions of the New York City watershed. In the future it may also look at issuing permits in the Utica Shale, which covers additional regions of upstate New York. Extraction would be done by means of the process of High-volume, Slick-water, Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (hydrofracking) in which one drills vertically to the level of the shale deposit (often over 5,000 feet) and then horizontally for several thousand feet. Water, combined with sand and undisclosed chemicals, is then injected into the well under high pressure. This fractures the shale and enables extraction of the natural gas. This is a relatively new technique and should not be confused with older vertical methods of hydraulic fracturing.

Extraction of natural gas by means of fracking has been exempted from most federal regulation. Evidence from other states indicates that the process has the potential to degrade the environment if not adequately regulated. The League supports national regulation of hydrofracking and a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State at least until the full life cycle and cumulative environmental impact of this method of gas extraction has been fully considered by the Environmental Protection Agency. If the results of that study indicate that the process can be made sufficiently safe, the League supports strong regulation accompanied by strict enforcement and intensive oversight. In addition, the League believes that careful planning concerning the pace and extent of the drilling must be done, since this is a highly industrial process that will occur in predominantly rural areas. This planning should include an analysis of any impact the extraction activity will have on the current local economy, especially the growing agricultural and tourism businesses in the areas over the shale.

hydrofracking: League Positions

League action in this area is governed by numerous environmental positions.  The basis for action is the LWVUS natural resources positions, contained in LWVUS Impact on Issues 2008-2010 and located at pp. 44, 46-47, 51-54, , 57-58 and the LWVNY water resources position, contained in LWVNY Impact on Issues 2005-2007.

At the June, 2010 LWUS convention, the members adopted a resolution to call upon the Board to use the resources of the League to support and lobby for significant strengthening of appropriate regulation, oversight, inspection, and penalties associated with the development of fossil fuel resources. This strengthening should include elimination from national legislation of the exemptions for drilling and mining, as well as additional legislation requiring the federal agencies to regulate drilling and mining in a manner consistent with the preservation of a healthy environment. The membership also called on the Board to communicate with the President and the Congress putting them on notice that Leagues across the country are deeply concerned about this issue.  Motion #705-348, LWV of Tompkins County, NY.

hydrofracking: Resources hydrofracking: How to Get Involved
  • We are always looking for League members to volunteer for the Hydrofracking issue committee.  This committee functions largely electronically, reviewing and drafting materials.  To join or for more information, Please contact Beth Radow.
Contact the League Office or call the state the League office at 518-465-4162.