Council Proposes Fracking Letter

11-04-gas-leasesRecently, a number of prominent food cooperatives from throughout New York state have issued statements clearly addressing the dangers posed to our communities and our co-ops by the unsafe and resource-intensive process of hydrofracturing ("hydrofracking") for natural gas. As an institution that is firmly against this practice, we are proud to stand alongside our fellow cooperators and call for both an immediate moratorium on all fracking and a permanent ban. Such measures are the only way that we can ensure the safety, health and sustainability of our local food economy and communities. We will continue to lead by example: showing that through conservation, support for renewable energy sources and ecologically-aware practices we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and realize a sustainable future. The following letter will be voted on by Council at its April 12 meeting. To submit feedback to council on the content of the letter, please email council.

GreenStar Statement on Fracking, Update 2011

This letter is written in solidarity with other New York state retail food cooperatives such as Park Slope Co-op of Brooklyn and Lexington Co-op of Buffalo, who have already submitted letters to our state government strongly requesting a ban on the hydrofracking process in New York state.

We are a cooperative business built by and supported by our community. GreenStar Cooperative has annual sales of over $15 million as well as nearly 7,500 members. We are an economic cornerstone of Ithaca and the surrounding area, providing over 150 jobs and paying over $2.6 million in wages in 2010.

We, too, share the concerns about hydrofracking expressed in similar letters sent to you by all manners of businesses and organizations. We strongly support the call for a ban on hydrofracking based on our concerns regarding both its general environmental and economic impact in our region and the specific dangers it poses to our business and membership.

Concerns

Among our concerns related to hydrofracking in New York State, the following are especially significant:

• Concern for the safety of our local food supply: Each year GreenStar alone supports local and regional farms by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into their goods and production. Much of the food we source locally is in the highly-regulated, rapidly growing organic sector. Soil and water contamination related to hydrofracking will threaten a key source of revenue for our business, as well as the vitality of our regional economy.

• Concern of possible regional water contamination: GreenStar uses regional water in many of our prepared products. There have been significant reports of water contamination in many states in which hydrofracking has so far taken place, including TX, PA, WY and WV. Potential contamination of the regional water supply could represent a debilitating increase in operating cost for our business.

• Concern for the health of our community: GreenStar is committed to the support of healthy living throughout the region we serve. The combination of contamination risks as well as the potential transformation of much of our region into an industrial one poses a significant obstacle to that mission.

Requests

We therefore request all legislators in both the New York State and Federal governments take the following actions:

• Enforce a complete moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State and throughout the Marcellus region until the EPA study is complete, including a suspension of currently active vertical well drilling operations in New York State.

• Demand full disclosure of all chemicals to be used in high volume slick water extraction operations in New York State.

• End the exemption of Natural Gas drilling from the following regulatory structures: the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund Act), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Release Inventory and the National Environmental Policy Act.

• Undertake a complete overhaul of the sGEIS, with an extended period for public comment.

• Undertake a full, independent study into the possible implications of Natural Gas drilling on food producers in New York State.

Thank you for considering a statewide ban of hydrofracking in New York State. Thank you for taking the time to hear the voices of New York Food Cooperatives in support of this ban.

Sincerely,

12th Moon, President, 
GreenStar Cooperative Market Inc. Board of Directors, Ithaca, NY

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