On April 25, 2011 Grassroots filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the NYS DOH, asking for all communications between the DOH and the DEC on the issue of human health effects related to fracking. We were hoping to receive this information during the DEC's public comment period, since health issues have dominated much of the public discussion. (The comment period ends January 11th).
The DOH failed four times over the past eight months to meet their own response deadlines, most recently on December 23rd. The delay now stands at 256 days.
We believe the DOH is engaged in effective denial of our request in violation of the law. Given that DEC Commissioner Martens has testified that the DOH was "intensely involved" with the DEC on the issue of fracking, and given the high degree of public interest over human health issues related to fracking, this decision by the DOH to withhold information vital to the public interest is deeply troubling.
We are appealing the DOH action, but it will take time to go through the legal process required before court action can be initiated. In the meantime we encourage all of those who share our concerns to call Dr. Nirav Shah, the Commissioner of the DOH at (518) 474-2011 and demand release of the information.