Demand that Officials Take a Stand Against Oil and Gas Lobbying Campaigns

Drilling

Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Goal: Stop supporting oil and gas lobbying campaigns

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) recently provided oil and gas companies with early access to inside information that allowed lobbyists to have a head start on their efforts to influence the state’s proposed drilling rules. The DEC documents shared with gas and oil industry representatives provided them with summaries of the rules to be enacted as long as six weeks before the same documents were made public. In response, industry lobbyists took action to attempt to weaken restrictions on fracking and to push for Governor Andrew Cuomo to approve a proposal that would expand shale gas drilling projects in the state. The recent conduct of the NY DEC indicates the excessive influence provided to fossil fuel lobbyists by government officials. Take action to protest the actions of New York officials and to urge Governor Cuomo to reject proposals to expand the state’s drilling program.

According to a report by the organization Environmental Working Group, emails released by the DEC reveal lobbyists’ response to the information granted to them. Two days before the DEC made public its proposed drilling rules, an attorney working for drilling companies made “one last pitch” asking that the rules “reduce or eliminate radionuclide testing” of surface and groundwater that washes away from drilling sites during storms.

Radionuclides are a type of carcinogenic and radioactive pollution that tends to collect at high levels in wastewater produced by gas drilling. The final version of the rules released to the public did require testing of wastewater, but did not propose penalties for companies if the runoff showed radionuclide levels that posed a concern for public health.

“This is like giving the drilling industry three laps around the track while everyone else was left waiting on the starting block,” said Thomas Cluderay, assistant general counsel to the Environmental Working Group. By favoring their relationships with fossil fuel lobbyists over the public health of their citizens, government regulators are demonstrating a willingness to compromise on the very principles that the Department of Environmental Conservation was established to protect. Their conduct is worrisome in light of the ongoing environmental damage that becomes more of a health threat everyday. Sign the petition below to demand that regulators address their recent actions and restore their focus to protecting the health of our citizens and our environment above all else.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

According to a recent report by the Environmental Working Group, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation recently provided oil and gas companies with early access to inside information that allowed lobbyists to have a head start on their efforts to influence the state’s proposed drilling rules.

Two days before the DEC made public its proposed drilling rules, an attorney working for drilling companies made “one last pitch,” asking that the rules “reduce or eliminate radionuclide testing” of surface and groundwater that washes away from drilling sites during storms. The final version of the rules released to the public did require testing of wastewater, but did not propose penalties for companies if the runoff showed radionuclide levels that posed a concern for public health.

By favoring their relationships with fossil fuel lobbyists over the public health of their citizens, government regulators are demonstrating a willingness to compromise on the very principles that the Department of Environmental Conservation was established to protect. Their conduct is worrisome in light of the ongoing environmental damage that becomes more of a health threat everyday.

I hope that you will consider the implications that the actions of New York DEC regulators will have for the reputation of the department as well as the public health and environmental safety of New York residents. I urge you to address their actions and reject the current proposal to expand the state’s drilling program.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Terry Dyck says:

    Health is more important the oil and gas. Let fund halth and the environment.

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