New York State announced a ban on fracking in December, 2014 based on significant public health and environmental risks. The ban followed multi-year reviews of the science and impacts by the state Department of Health and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership, the ban protects public health, drinking water, the environment, local economies based on agriculture, tourism and small businesses. The ban on fracking sets the state apart for its climate leadership by leaving fossil fuels in the ground while the state simultaneously leads the nation in expanding renewable energy.
New York’s ban on fracking is a tremendous victory for the incredible anti-fracking campaign that emerged in the state. It also marked a turning point nationally against fracking, demonstrating the seriousness of the risks from fracking and showing that it’s possible to stop the oil and gas industry and to build a better future.
The final New York State summary of the reasons for the ban concludes,
“In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity.”
The summary notes the range of risks and harms:
“…adverse public health outcomes…include: 1) air impacts that could affect respiratory health… 2) drinking water impacts from underground migration of methane and/or fracturing fluid chemicals associated with faulty well construction or seismic activity; 3) surface spills from use, …resulting in soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination; 4) surface water contamination resulting from inadequate wastewater treatment; 5) earthquakes and creation of fissures; 6) community character impacts such as increased vehicle traffic, road damage, noise, odor complaints, and increased demand for housing and medical care; and 7) climate change impacts… and their resulting public health impacts.”
The three primary review and summary documents from New York State are:
- The Findings Statement of the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for high-volume hydraulic fracturing
- Department of Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development
- Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, the environmental review
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