NYC Water Supply Update From Christine Quinn, Speaker, NYC Council

December 3, 2009

Dear New Yorker, 

We want to alert you about a troubling development for New York City’s water. 

 On September 30, 2009, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a document proposing new permitting procedures and regulations for natural gas drilling in our state.  In effect, this document has left an open path for an unconventional gas drilling technique, known as hydraulic fracturing, to proceed in the land areas that supply our City with its famously clean drinking water.  

We are deeply troubled by this prospect. As much as 90 percent of our City’s water comes from the Catskill/Delaware watershed.  Natural gas drilling, a heavily industrial activity, risks introducing highly toxic chemicals into the City’s drinking water.  If the water were to become contaminated, the City would have to spend an estimated $10 billion to build a filtration plant and $100 million annually to operate it – further increasing water bills that have already seen double digit increases over the past three years. 

If you care as deeply about the future of our City’s water supply as we do, please call or write Governor Paterson and ask him and the State Legislature to explicitly ban drilling for natural gas in the City’s watershed.  We’ve gone ahead and drafted a letter that folks can easily sign on to and send to the Governor via our website.  To access, click http://council.nyc.gov/html/action_center/drilling.shtml

Additionally, the State should extend the public comment period on the proposed regulations, which are found in a voluminous document called the “draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.  The public comment period should be extended through February 28, 2010.  

Finally, please call or write your U.S. representative and U.S. senators and ask them to support the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009, which would help protect drinking water supplies throughout the country from the serious risks that hydrofracking poses.  You can find your representative’s contact information by clicking here and your senators’ contact information by clicking here.  You can also call the Capitol’s main switchboard at (202) 224-3121. 

Thanks so much for helping us protect our City’s water supply.

Sincerely, 

Christine C. Quinn

Speaker

New York City Council

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