In discussions on the Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (GEIS) as the State began considering permits for horizontally hydrofracked wells, citizens and environmental advocacy groups produced evidence of the risks of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and DEC agreed that a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (SGEIS) for horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing was warranted.
From 2008 through 2009, public scoping and public hearings were held on the SGEIS.
Precedent was set for the inclusion of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. In 2008, an HIA was completed, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s EIS, on an oil and gas development proposal in Alaska’s North Slope, and a multi-stage HIA for natural gas development and production was commissioned in Garfield County, Colorado. New York has the opportunity to set the bar equally high with regard to the health of its residents.
In December 2009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 submitted its comments on the first draft SGEIS. The agency called for “a greater emphasis…on the potential health impacts that may be associated with gas drilling and hydrofracturing.” With this in mind, the agency also requested that NYS Department of Health (DOH) join DEC as co-lead agency on the SEQRA process and Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) document. This request by EPA was denied. http://www.epa.gov/region2/spmm/pdf/Marcellus_dSGEIS_Comment_Letter_plus_Enclosure.pdf