Words from Grannis
November 12th, 2010

Ousted state environmental commission Pete Grannis finally is speaking out. As we reported earlier this week, Grannis’ firing — after a memo leaked criticizing cuts at the Department of Environmental Conservation — left many environmentalists fearing the agency no longer has the staff needed to protect New York’s environment and the health of its residents.

Almost all of the interview conducted by ProPublica’s Marie Baca dealt with whether to allow natural gas drilling in New York, particularly the process known as hydrofracking. Grannis seemed prepared to support drilling — although he set forth a number of caveats and expressed skepticism about allowing it in the city’s watershed.

“We need to finish the review to make sure that we have all the facts, have anticipated every risk, have set out a way to mitigate every risk that we identify, and that we have sufficient legal and human resources to make sure that we have the authority to do what we need to do,” Grannis said. He criticized Pennsylvania for rushing ahead, saying that state was now “paying a price for it.”

The unsigned memo, said that, in light of the cutbacks, the environment department will not be able to monitor natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. In the interview, Grannis stressed the need for inspectors. “You need people on site who are not answerable to the driller, and not answerable to the people they are having dinner with that night, but accountable to the regulator, he said.

In response to Baca’s questions, Grannis’ set out conditions he would expect the drilling companies to meet: creating the capacity to handle the wastewater generated by fracking, for example, and holding drillers liable for cleanup any gas-related emergencies.

But he also made it clear that some sort of drilling in New York might well be inevitable: “If we’re going to have a clean energy economy that’s not dependent on sources outside of our borders, there are things that need to be done, and they need to be done properly. It’s the same thing with windmills, solar panels, atomic energy or gas drilling.”

By on November 12, 2010, 3:33 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Eye on Albany | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Words from Grannis”

  1. Richard Van Dyke Says:
    November 13th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Great Read! I am always eager to learn as much as I can to be a better steward of our environment. We at the American Evergreen Foundation (AEF) Offer our Conservation through Participation programs with a never ending goal to reach out, involve and enlighten.

  2. Julie K. Says:
    November 16th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    To obtain mineral resources from the ground is very demanding task not just from the point of expenses or workers but also for technologies and mainly for the environment. We should consider that any humans activity can cause Climate change that is becoming to be irreversible.

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