Citing health risks, New York bans high-volume shale fracking

HUGE NEWS!

In a historic victory for environmental activists, NY Governor Cuomo has said he will bar high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in New York State. This decision means that New York’s shale gas reserves are likely to remain in the ground for the foreseeable future.

Before announcing his decision, the governor called on Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and Department of Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to report their findings.¬†Commissioner Martens said that fracking could have major impacts on air quality, water resources and communities, while Dr. Zucker reported that his department’s two-year review found that the process could pose “serious health risks.” He concluded that he wouldn’t want to live in a community where fracking takes place, and wouldn’t let his child play in a school field nearby.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE DECISION

New York’s Department of Health didn’t conduct original research of its own; instead it reviewed the existing literature in the field. Yesterday it released its findings in this 176-page report. PSE Healthy Energy also surveyedthe more than four hundred peer-reviewed scientific studies that consider the impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction on air quality, water quality, and human health. While there are still significant data gaps, the emerging trend is unmistakable. In every area, the preponderance of scientific studies point to either significant risks or to adverse impacts associated with fracking.

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Food and Water Watch Director, Wenonah Hauter, on the implications for the rest of the country