Governor Cuomo has done the environmentally, economically and politically practical thing and has banned fracking in New York. Because it simply is not worth the risk. Bravo. The Cuomo Administration just passed The Fracking IQ Test. Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker stated the obvious – the science isn’t there to turn frackers loose in New York:
“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Howard Zucker, the acting commissioner of health. The DOH report on fracking is here.
That did it. Then Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said the DEC would not permit fracking and issued a press release to that effect.
The announcements occur at 41:45 into this video
Both of them cited the greatly reduced area where fracking would actually take place in New York – since most Upstate towns ban it. The proposed regulations further reduce the drillable area.
And the only towns that might allow it are in an small area by the Pennsylvania border that is not currently economic. So, frankly, simply not worth fracking fooling with in New York.
Martens specifically noted the low price of natural gas, the high local cost of industry oversight and the large areas that would be off-limits to shale gas development because of setback requirements, water supply protections, and local prohibitions. He said those factors combine to make fracking less economically beneficial than had been anticipated.
All this makes perfect sense from all standpoints: environmentally, economically and politically.
Take a look at a Real Fracking Hero. The guy that had the juevos to tell the frackers to “Come back when you can play clean.” If ever.
Thanks Governor Cuomo ! I take back all those things I said about you. Well, almost everything.
ALBANY—A long-awaited study released by the Cuomo administration on Wednesday determined several “red flags” about hydraulic fracturing that could pose “significant public health risks,” officials said at a public meeting of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet.
The governor’s announcement, articulated by his acting Department of Health commissioner Howard Zucker and Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens, delays any potential gas drilling in New York State for at least several more years as more data becomes available.
“The evidence in the studies we reviewed raised public health concerns,” Zucker said. “There are many red flags because there are questions that remain unanswered from lack of scientific analysis, specifically longitudinal studies of [fracking].”
“The science isn’t here,” Zucker continued. “But the cumulative concerns based on the information I have read … gives me reason to pause.”
Winding toward the conclusion of his presentation, Zucker said, “Would I live in a community with [fracking] based on the facts that I have now? Would I let my child play in a school field nearby? After looking at the plethora of reports behind me … my answer is no.”
He yielded to Cuomo, who thanked him for his “powerful” remarks.
The health study, requested two years ago by state environmental officials, provided the basis for an open-ended stall by the governor, who was loath to anger environmentalist opponents or pro-business supporters of fracking before his re-election. For the past six years the state has vexed both constituencies, without provoking an outright revolt by either, by observing a moratorium on fracking without actually banning it.
Zucker said the health review involved 4,500 staff hours reviewing anecdotal reports and a stack of existing studies. He spent 15 minutes offering his analysis of several peer-reviewed reports and making an analogy to earlier scientific thinking on second-hand smoking.
Martens, when he spokes, said that restrictions already on hydrofracking in the New York City watershed as well as local towns that have banned its development mean that “the prospects for [hydrofracking] development in New York State are uncertain at best.”
At numerous points during his first term, and especially during his campaign this year, Cuomo cited the ongoing study as of the health impacts of fracking in lieu of articulating a position on it. In the meantime, a moratorium put in place by then-Governor David Paterson in 2008 remained in place.
(The health study placed the political onus on the Cuomo administration’s health department for its never-ending timeline; respected former health commissioner Nirav Shah, placed in the awkward position of giving a series of non-answers to questions about the department’s progress on its fracking study, left without saying much at all.)
In September 2012, after years of study, Martens and the Department of Environmental Conservation formally asked the state Department of Health to review the human health risks of fracking, leading to further delays.
Environmental groups have cautioned that drilling for natural gas in New York will pollute water sources, increase reliance on fossil fuels and harm human health.
In June, the state Court of Appeals upheld local bans on fracking, which Cuomo said would limit drilling to areas that support the industry. More than 120 communities have passed local land use laws that have banned fracking.
For years, anti-fracking activists have been Cuomo’s most outspoken opponents, protesting nearly all his public appearances and rallying thousands in Albany for the annual State of the State address.
Cuomo lost a number of upstate communities in his primary to Democratic challenger Zephyr Teachout in September, a showing she attributed in large part to the turnout among anti-fracking activists.
Following Martens and Zucker at the cabinet meeting, Cuomo said, “I get very few people who say to me, I love the idea of fracking.”