Several news outlets and the Twittersphere are abuzz with the news that New York State is set to ban fracking in 2015. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced the forthcoming ban — making permanent the existing moratorium — during a year-end cabinet meeting.
The primary reason cited by the Cuomo administration is health concerns related to the extremely controversial, water- and chemical-intensive fracking process. According to The New York Times, the acting state health commissioner Howard Zucker, said, “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York.”
Zucker then made a simple argument in support of the decision.
“Would I live in a community with [fracking] based on the facts that I have now? Would I let my child play in a school field nearby? After looking at the plethora of reports behind me … my answer is no.”
The commissioner of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation also made the point that the current restrictions on the ban on fracking in the New York City watershed as well as fracking bans enacted by local municipalities mean “the prospects for [hydrofracking] development in New York State are uncertain at best.”
The potential impacts of fracking on water, air, land resources, community and local services are significant. @NYSDEC— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 17, 2014
NYGovCuomo) December 17, 2014
State residents and environmentalists have spent several years rallying for a ban on fracking, and they are celebrating this breaking news.
Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University, told DeSmogBlog:
“I never lost confidence in Gov. Cuomo. Add a chapter to 'Profiles in Courage' for him. And I never lost confidence that the prowess of my health professional and science colleagues would reveal shale gas development for what it would have been: a big net loss for the people of New York State. If shale gas extraction in a populated place like New York can't 'make it in there' maybe it can't make it 'anywhere'.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated regularly throughout the day. Co-reported by Justin Mikulka, Steve Horn and Brendan DeMelle.