Major Victory in New York: Hydraulic Fracturing Banned


fracking image

New York state’s environmental commissioner Joseph Martens said he will ban hydraulic fracturing in New York. The decision comes in response to a 5-year study done by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Martens says that the practice of high volume hydraulic fracturing will be prohibited.

“I will then issue a legally binding findings statement prohibiting (fracking) in New York state at this time,” Martens said at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s year-end cabinet meeting.

State health commissioner Howard Zucker gave a detailed presentation on why fracking was too risky for the state. Zucker said he would not allow his family to drink tap water in an area where there was fracking.

“The bottom line is we lack the comprehensive longitudinal studies, and these are either not yet complete or are yet to be initiated,” Zucker said, reported on Syracuse.com. “We don’t have the evidence to prove or disprove the health effects. But the cumulative concerns of what I’ve read gives me reason to pause.”

Zucker said that the study showed the harmful impacts of fracking and additionally, there were not enough longterm studies to know what would happen in the future. Martens named a variety of reasons for the ban including the potential pollution of groundwater and the release of methane and ozone.

Governor Cuomo said he would defer to Martens with regards to the decision though he expects lawsuits to be filed as a result of the prohibition.

According to the report:

“The overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in this Public Health Review demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the
mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health,” Zucker wrote. “Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in NYS.”

The long awaited study which led to the ban will be released at the end of December.

I’ve written before about the environmental concerns with fracking. For example, the chemicals used in fracking can be mixed with gas and released into the environment in the form of methane. Not to mention that the heavy duty equipment used to fracture wells may cause devastation to delicate eco-systems. Like in Oklahoma, for example, where 2,500 earthquakes are being blamed on fracking and the destruction of rock formations.

“I will be bound by what these experts say because I am not in a position to second guess them with my expertise,” Cuomo said. “I am not a scientist.”

So at least in the near future, New York state residents caught a break. No fracking in this great state.

Related on EcoSalon

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Tis the Irony: Susan G. Komen Partners With a Major Fracking Company

Fracking in Pennsylvania: A Visual

Image: CREDO.fracking

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Sara Novak