N.Y. Heading Toward Statewide Fracking Ban After New Review

Fracking
Money vs. the Environment: A life in Fracking. (Image: VICE/YouTube)

After seven years of research, public hearings, rallies, elections, and the rumors that a decision was imminent, New York’s Department for Environmental Conservation has finally released its review into fracking, which could form the basis of a statewide fracking ban.

Joseph Martens, New York’s environmental conservation commissioner, said: “The Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) is the result of an extensive examination of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and its potential adverse impacts on critical resources such as drinking water, community character, and wildlife habitat.”

Dryden—The small town that changed the fracking game:

The report has also examined the likelihood of an economic boom for deprived areas that would benefit from an abundance of gas; however, the report indicates a recommendation for a “no-action” policy, whereby the state refuses all applications that involve fracking, wrote Shale Energy Insider.

“Even with mitigation measures in place, the risk of spills and other unplanned events resulting in the discharge of toxic pollutants over a wide area would not be eliminated. Moreover, the level of risk such spills pose to public health is highly uncertain,” the report read.

Fracking’s big backer:

Liz Moran, who is an analyst with Environmental Advocates for New York, in a statement said:

New Yorkers asked Governor Cuomo to follow the science, and he did.

This is an enormous victory for upstate and all New Yorkers, and it gives hope to citizens across the country fighting back against a deep-pocketed industry.”

Heather Briccetti, The Business Council president and CEO, said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the Department of Environmental Conservation ignored their statutory responsibility to promote the development of New York’s plentiful oil and gas resources. We are confident that today’s decision will ultimately be reversed. But for many New Yorkers looking for new jobs and new economic opportunity, that day will come too late.”

Gov. Cuomo moves to ban fracking in New York:

Karen Moreau, the New York head of the American Petroleum Institute, said: “This politically motivated document adds salt to the wounds across the state leaving New Yorkers wondering where the jobs will come from now.”

The benefits of fracking:

Under state law, a minimum of 10 days from the report’s publication must pass before the DEC can issue a legally-binding “statement of findings”. This document will be the DEC’s formal recommendations and is likely to be subject to intense scrutiny from industry bodies and campaigners, and could possibly result in a series of legal challenges or clarifications, wrote Shale Energy Insider.

“But overturning New York’s decision will not be easy, even with a different governor,” says Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Kate Sinding.

Kate Sinding and Michael Shellenberger—The striking challenge of fracking (highlights):

She went on to say: “It’s almost inconceivable that the court will look at the thoroughness of the review here, the extent to which it is buttressed by references to scientific and other studies, and say that the agency had any way abused its discretion,” wrote Innovation Trail.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. Below is the full video “The Striking Challenge of Fracking”:

If you enjoyed this story, click here to read more Science stories.

Or join us on Facebook.

Roswell Photos a Scam, Was It for the Money?
Skewer a Balloon and Look Cool to Your Kids; Here's How