January 11, 2013 —
Grass roots organization Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy began a drive the day after Christmas for people to submit comments critical of New York State’s draft fracking regulations. They have collected 23,924 written comments.
The organization doesn’t have paid staff members or an office. “This has been a team effort,” said Catskill Citizens member Jill Wiener. “Stop the Frack Attack, Frack Action, “Gasland” and many others were instrumental in expanding our reach by promoting our Action Alert.”
To encourage public comments, Catskill Citizens created sample letters that could be personalized before submission to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)—the department responsible for the proposed High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations. Each letter was printed and sealed in a separate envelope for hand delivery to the DEC. Catskill Citizen Tom Wilinsky, who took on the task of formatting each letter for printing, admitted, “I was delighted with the overwhelming public response, but I have to admit I was relieved when the Public Comment period drew to a close.”
The growing opposition to fracking in New York State can be seen in the ever increasing number of comments submitted to the DEC. In 2009, a draft version of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement elicited 14,000 comments. Three years later a revised draft SGEIS received more than 65,000 mostly negative comments, including more than 10,000 submitted by Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. This time around the DEC can expect more than 200,000 comments criticizing its proposed fracking regulations.