A note from acclaimed ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber:
I’m writing to recruit you into a writing project I’m doing with Grassroots Environmental Education–and also ask if you will be an ambassador for it. It’s called Thirty Days of Fracking Regs, and it’s a fun-yet-deadly-serious approach to commenting on the newly released, and completely absurd, draft regulations for fracking in New York State.
The story so far: On Nov. 29, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued draft regulations to allow fracking in New York. It was a cynical and reckless move—especially because the state’s own limited health review is not even finished, and Governor Cuomo has made no decision yet on whether to permit or prohibit fracking in our state. The effect of the regs release has been to shift public perception toward the conclusion that fracking is on its way, like it or not. (NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE.)
To add insult to injury, we have only until January 11th to speak out against these regulations as part of an official 30-day public comment period.
The rulebook of proposed regulations is complicated, long, tedious and scary. One of the regs would allow a drill rig to be erected only 500 feet from homes and water wells. Another would allow drilling and fracking operations to tunnel under our rivers and streams. None of them mandate how drillers have to dispose of their toxic waste water, some of which is radioactive. None of the compel the industry to reveal the identity of the fracking chemicals that they are pumping into the ground.
So, we need to flood the DEC with huge numbers of critical comments on huge numbers of mind-numbing regulations during a thirty-day period that falls right in the middle of the holiday season.
It’s the writing assignment from hell. I had to think really hard about how to make it engaging and meaningful for lots of people. I decided it would be far less painful–and generate a lot more comments–if I served this task up as a series of small, daily, meditative writing assignments synced to the various days of the calendar (winter solstice, Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, Epiphany, etc.).
So, I’m inviting people to compose and send in their thoughts on one reg a day for the next 30 days. I’m doing the hard part–investigating the regs, translating them into everyday language, and providing the scientific context and evidence for each one. And also attaching it to the right date on the holiday calendar, so we can get some lyrical, symbolic resonance going. (Look for the solstice reg to have something to do with darkness and light.)
Click here to go to 30 Days of Fracking Regs and submit your comments to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.