Tonawanda News

April 26, 2013

Fracking report at isssue

STAFF REPORTS
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — At least a dozen environmental groups in New York state are calling on officials to throw out the latest draft report on fracking, alleging bias among three companies with input in the process said to be tied to the energy industry.

A statement released Thursday by Common Cause NY claims that three firms with input into what’s officially called the Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement have ties to oil and gas lobbyists, specifically the state’s Independent Oil and Gas Association.

The three engineering and consulting firms retained by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and NYSERDA to prepare the draft statement are: Ecology and Environment Inc. (E&E), Alpha Geoscience, and URS Corporation.

“The affiliation of E&E, Alpha Geoscience, and URS Corporation with IOGA NY raises disturbing questions about the firms’ role as supposedly impartial expert advisors to the DEC,” the statement reads. 

The group claims the companies are listed along with about 200 other corporate members on a letter from IOGA sent April 22, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open the state to fracking.

The statement’s authors say IOGA, in turn, recently received $2 million from Exxon Mobil to run a pro-fracking advertising campaign.

Common Cause cited documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request, which it says show the firms were “deeply involved in the review and response to public comments” during the creation of the impact statement, ultimately intended to summarize the economic and environmental effects of fracking.

Groups calling on the state to scrap the plan include Common Cause/NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Center for Environmental Health, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Citizens for Water, NYH2O, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Riverkeeper Inc., and Frack Action.