New York Bans Fracking for Good

Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally made a decision—make it permanent in 2015. Fracking foes won an important battle as the Empire State has massive natural gas reserves in the Marcellus shale play. In the end, health issues trumped economics.
December 18, 2014, 6am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction," write Jesse McKinley and Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times.

"The announcement came after a presentation by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker on the possible health risks of fracking — the results of a long-awaited report [PDF] on the subject," writes Brad Plumer, senior editor of Vox. Zucker made the initial announcement.

“As the acting health commissioner, I consider the people of New York as my patients,” he said. “We cannot afford to make a mistake. The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.” [BuzzFeed]

Also speaking at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's year-end cabinet meeting in Albany was New York's Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, Joseph Martens. "Martens said a five-year study by DEC on fracking will be released next year," writes Glenn Coin of Syracuse.com. "I will then issue a legally binding findings statement prohibiting (fracking) in New York state at this time," stated Martens. [See joint press release from DEC and Department of Health.]

"Martens also talked about some of the potential negative impacts of fracking — from leaks of methane (a potent greenhouse gas that helps warm the planet) to the pollution of groundwater," adds Plumer.

Plumer notes that with this announcement, New York become "the second state to ban fracking — after Vermont did so in 2012. The difference is that Vermont's ban was mostly symbolic. New York has actual shale resources, so a ban would have a real impact."

Syracuse.com presents a sampling of opinions, from the Sierra Club to oil and gas industries, on the decision.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 in Vox
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