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.

2 minute read

December 18, 2014, 6:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 in Vox

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Acela train at Wilmington station in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Passenger Rail Revival Is Here

For the first time in decades, multiple rail projects are moving forward that could have a transformative impact on train travel in the United States.

May 21, 2024 - Route Fifty

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.