After an exhaustive multi-year study into the public health, environmental and economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the state of New York has announced it will prohibit the controversial drilling process. Fracking involves the injection of high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals deep into the ground to crack shale rock in order to free and extract gas.
The State Department Environmental Conservation commissioner Joseph Marten has said he will issue a legally binding findings statement seeking prohibition of hydraulic fracturing in New York. The study found that fracking processes have the potential to pollute the state’s reservoirs and aquifers; even the economic benefit to New York would clearly be lower than initially forecast.
While a moratorium on fracking has been in place in New York since 2008, this means that the state is moving to make the ban official and permanent. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said that, from the data in the report, “there are serous questions about public health.” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has said “The bottom line is that we don’t have definitive evidence to prove or disprove the claims of health effects,” “But the cumulative concerns…give me reason to pause.”
Following Vermont, New York will become the second state to ban fracking outright, and there are a growing number of US cities and towns prohibiting the process within their boundaries.
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