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ALBANY, N.Y. — (Mealey's) The commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Dec. 17 announced at a meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet that he will “issue a legally binding findings statement” that will prohibit high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in the state, according to a press release.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens told the cabinet that based on a report issued by Acting DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, which Martens commissioned as a public health review of the issues posed by high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the procedure should be banned.
(Report available. Document #94-150113-003X.)
At the cabinet meeting, Zucker recommended that fracking should not move forward in the state.
“I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks to public health which as of yet are unanswered,” Zucker said. “I think it would be reckless to proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done.”
Zucker added: “I asked myself, ‘would I let my family live in a community with fracking?’ The answer is no. I therefore cannot recommend anyone else’s family to live in such a community either.”
Martens said that for the last six years, the DEC has examined the significant environmental impacts that could result from fracking and identified “dozens of potential significant adverse impacts.” Furthermore, Martens said that “with the exclusion of sensitive natural, cultural and historic resources and the increasing number of towns that have enacted bans and moratoria, the risks substantially outweigh any potential economic benefits of HVHF.”
Zucker’s report found “significant uncertainties about: the adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF; the likelihood of occurrence of adverse health outcomes; and the adequacy of mitigation measures to protect public health,” according to the press release.
“The report concludes that it will be years until science and research provide sufficient information to determine the level of risk HVHF poses to public health and whether those risks can be adequately mitigated,” the press release said. “Given the red flags raised by current studies, absent conclusive studies that disprove health concerns, the report states the activity should not proceed in New York State.”
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