Ending months of speculation, frustration, and mounting concerns, on Wednesday Governor Cuomo announced at an end-of-year cabinet meeting that his administration will ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State. His decision comes as a result of serious public health and environmental risks cited by the state’s acting health commissioner and environment commissioner. (See our previous coverage.)
Citing the conclusions from the of the State Health Department’s multi-year health study on fracking, Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker listed “concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the long-term safety of fracking,” according to the New York Times account of the cabinet meeting.
The health department has just released its long-awaited, full 185-page report detailing the risks and science-based conclusions.
Based on all the findings, Commissioner Joseph Martens of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) stated that his department will be issuing a complete report early in 2015 and legally binding rules to ban fracking in New York State.
As of June 2014, the state’s highest court had ruled that local towns could use existing or new zoning ordinances to effectively ban hydraulic fracturing. Several communities throughout the state have used this tactic already. A statewide moratorium on drilling has been in place for some time.