NY's Historic and Cultural Resources endangered in Marcellus Shale Gas Regions

Preservation League adds Glimmerglass, Southern Tier Regions to Seven to Save List of Endangered Places

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Rural New York lansdcapes threatened by hydrofracking. Photo by Richard S. Duncan (rsnacnud@me.com)

ALBANY, NY (03/29/2012)(readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State has named the historic and cultural resources in the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas regions to its list of the Empire State's most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save.

The Preservation League of New York State has a nearly forty-year history of protecting New York's diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings, communities, and cultural landscapes. As the statewide advocate for New York's historic resources, the League has become increasingly concerned about the negative impacts that high-volume natural gas hydraulic fracturing could have on historic buildings, communities and landscapes in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions of New York State.

"The development and servicing of the industrial infrastructure required by this process poses a significant threat to historic structures, cultural resources and heritage tourism in these areas," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "After careful research and lengthy discussion, the League's board of trustees voted last week to adopt a position statement on hydrofracking outlining the League's concerns."

Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened. A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.

The inclusion of the historic and cultural resources in the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas regions of New York on the Seven to Save list provides the opportunity for the League to work with local advocates to protect the area's built and natural environment. "With this program, we provide targeted support to seven of New York's most important and endangered historic resources," said Tania Werbizky, the Preservation League's regional director for technical and grant programs for the Southern Tier and Western New York. "Whether sites are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, or, in some cases, outright demolition, we have a proven record of working with community advocates to save a number of significant properties."

"The League, along with many other concerned New Yorkers, provided extensive comments on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (rDSGEIS) regarding hydrofracking," said Daniel Mackay, the League's director of public policy. "Following careful analysis of the rDSGEIS, it is our contention that DEC's current environmental study includes serious flaws and omissions relating to the impact of high-volume natural gas hydrofracking, drilling and related operations upon historic and cultural resources. Failure to consider these consequences puts these resources at serious risk of damage, diminishment, and possible loss."

"The overwhelmingly rural New York regions underlain by the Marcellus and Utica shales contain some of the richest historic and cultural resources relating to New York's 18th and 19th century westward expansion, with much of the historic agricultural land use patterns and cultural landscapes still intact," said Ellen Pope, Executive Director of Otsego 2000. "High volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, if allowed to proceed as laid out in the dSGEIS, would have a tremendous, largely irreversible impact on rural New York's cultural and historic assets. We are deeply grateful to the Preservation League for recognizing the significant threat posed by shale gas extraction, and look forward to working hand in hand to protect our historic and cultural resources."

Since 1999, publicity and advocacy resulting from Seven to Save designation has led to the rehabilitation and reopening of the Oswego City Public Library, the rebirth of Montauk Manor on Long Island, and the rededication of the once-abandoned George Harvey Justice Building in Binghamton along with successes at several other locations. The League has made two state-wide designations to their list of threatened resources in the past – historic wood windows in 2006 and New York's cultural and scenic resources as threatened by commercial wind farms in 2003.

The Preservation League of New York State is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1974. The League invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of New York's historic buildings and landscapes. It leads advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.