New York authorities take next step to set fracking ban in law

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 14 May 2015 13:25, Last updated: 2015-05-14
State officials edge closer to fracking ban law
State officials edge closer to fracking ban law

New York environment chiefs have taken the next step towards making the state’s fracking ban official with the release of its final impact report.

The study confirms the state’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, was correct in announcing a moratorium last December as the evidence “regarding the potential significant adverse environmental and public health impacts has been growing over time”.

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said it had received an unprecedented 260,000 public comments as it investigated the adverse impacts of fracking.

The Cuomo administration will not allow the controversial process to move forward in the state. DEC is now expected to publish a so-called Findings Statement — a document that will demonstrate that the agency has conducted all of the necessary steps to finalise the ban and make it law.

Kate Sinding, Director of the Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, commented: “This report appears to solidly backup the Governor’s decision to ban fracking in New York. New Yorkers have valid concerns about the threats fracking would pose to the air we breathe, the water we drink and the communities we live in. In the coming days, we will be digging through this lengthy analysis with a fine tooth comb.

“The gGvernor has rightfully let science and the will of the people be his guide, despite pressure from a powerful industry. He should continue to proudly stand his ground.”

The official Environmental Impact Statement report described how “significant uncertainty remains regarding the level of risk to public health and the environment” by giving the go-ahead for hydraulic fracturing in New York.

It added: “In fact, the uncertainty regarding the potential significant adverse environmental and public health impacts has been growing over time.”

Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg, who represented the NY town of Dryden in a precedent-setting case in which the state’s highest court allowed municipalities throughout New York to ban fracking, welcomed the report.

She added: "The science in support of fracking’s threats to air, water, and public health has been stacking up steadily. And Governor Andrew Cuomo has done what no other state leader has had the courage to do: let the available scientific evidence dictate whether fracking should proceed in New York. Governors in California, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere should take note.

"We now await the written findings and determination that will formalize the ban. Industry groups are threatening to sue, but the attorneys at Earthjustice are confident the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s robust FSGEIS will support the ban, and we pledge to help the state defend the ban in any legal challenge."




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