In June, a New York Times report detailing apparent plans by New York State to move forward with fracking in limited areas sparked a great deal of criticism. In response to the news, NRDC quickly issued a statement, along with over 100 other groups and individuals across the state, reaffirming our support for a continued statewide moratorium on fracking until public health and environmental risks are fully assessed.
More recently, media outlets speculated that a definitive announcement from Governor Cuomo would come just after Labor Day, leaving people on all sides of the issue to anxiously await the symbolic end of summer. One week later, we finally have an answer: there are no immediate plans for a decision on fracking.
Speaking on Monday to Albany radio station WGDJ, Governor Cuomo said that he won’t pressure DEC with a deadline to make a final determination on whether or not fracking can be done safely, The Ithaca Journal reports. This is good news. Cuomo’s position offers a golden opportunity to act with careful deliberativeness, prioritizing New York State’s environment and the health of its citizens over the interests of the gas industry. It’s absolutely imperative that a complete, science-based—and unhurried—assessment of the risks associated with fracking be performed before any decisions about moving forward take place.
One critical thing the Governor should do immediately is commit his environmental and health agencies to having an independent assessment performed of the potential health impacts associated with proposed new fracking in the state.