A Thanksgiving Gift from NY's Governor Paterson

Last Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving – New York State Governor Paterson went on NPR-affiliate WAMC, and gave us some very good news on the fracking front.

Said the Governor, referring to his administration’s review of potential new gas drilling using the controversial fracking technology in NY’s Marcellus Shale:

“This is a very good example of public participation.  Our DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation]…originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area but we’ve received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea.  Even with the tremendous revenues that will come in at this time…we’re not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage.  At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time.”

The full interview is available here.

This is most welcome news to those of us who have been saying for the past year that the state’s environmental review for this potentially risky undertaking was thus far grossly inadequate to demonstrate that new drilling in the Marcellus Shale could be accomplished in a manner protective of human health and the environment.

All eyes will now be on Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.  Mr. Cuomo should pay his predecessor’s words heed.  Upon assuming office, he should direct his new DEC Commissioner to pull back the fatally flawed draft supplemental environmental impact statement and prepare a new analysis – one that takes full consideration of the cumulative health and environmental impacts of fracking in the Marcellus Shale before allowing any new drilling to occur.