Catskill Mountainkeeper is out with an email to supporters today, outlining the reasons why they feel an expanded review of the health impacts of hydrofracking doesn’t go far enough.
Here’s where it gets particularly interesting: The “action alert” (politely) targets current Department of Environmental Conservation chief Joseph Martens, who helped found the Sullivan County-based group in 2007.
Last week, Martens announced that the DEC has asked the state Department of Health to review his agency’s final report on high-volume hydrofracking for natural gas before deciding whether it should proceed in New York. The Health Department will tap outside experts to assist in the review, but Martens said he “rejects” the idea that an outside group should perform a comprehensive health impact analysis.
As part of its email, Catskill Mountainkeeper called the announcement a “welcome development in the regulatory process” but said it “unfortunately falls far short of what is needed.”
The group outlines the finer points of a health impact assessment, which generally follows a specific set of academic-approved guidelines and assesses all sorts of potential health threats caused by a specific action.
The email concludes with a fundraising pitch as well as a call on its members to reach out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Martens, calling for a more comprehensive health review than what the state is moving forward with.
“Our message to the Governor and the Commissioner is that to do any less would be an abdication of the state’s responsibility to protect the public’s health,” the pitch reads.