New York Says ‘NO!’ to Fracking
In what amounts to less than shocking news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on December 17th that fracking is officially banned within the state.
YourEnergyBlog recently visited the prospect of New York allowing fracking and found that a five-year moratorium on the technology has allowed the state to review its effects on the environment. Cuomo inherited the fracking moratorium in 2011 and has been relatively quiet on the subject since, deferring questions to the study and allowing it to run its course by stating, “All things being equal, I will be bound by what the experts say.”
For gas companies and landowners who were hoping to frack in New York, that may sound like a cop-out. For environmentalists, however, it’s a decision that is well-informed and speaks for the large volume of citizens and businesses in the state that were adamantly opposed to the practice.
Dr. Howard Zucker, acting New York health commissioner, noted numerous “red flags” surrounding the health impact of fracking. Zucker stated, “I cannot support high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the great State of New York.”
Fracking uses water and chemicals at high pressure to fracture shale deposits deep underground, which allows natural gas or oil to flow up the drilling well for collection. Proponents argue that fracking lessens our dependency on foreign energy sources and creates lower prices, while opponents cite health concerns that arise, including air pollution and tainted water resources.
Let’s be honest. There was no way fracking would be allowed in such a progressive state, and it appears that its citizens are content with that. The news comes one month after Cuomo was re-elected into office. Whether or not it was a political move for Cuomo remains unknown. Making a decision prior to the election would have dramatically reduced his support from either side. The New York Times reports,
As months and years passed, the governor repeatedly suggested that the Health Department’s report was near completion, but its findings did not surface until Wednesday.
The delays angered environmentalists and oil companies alike. Advocates for fracking have argued that it could bring jobs to economically depressed areas atop the Marcellus Shale, a gigantic subterranean deposit of trapped gas that extends across much of New York State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
But the governor has also faced strong opposition from groups worried about the effects of fracking on the state’s watersheds and aquifers, as well as on tourism and the quality of life in small upstate communities.
The decision to outlaw fracking is significant, to say the least. Government needs to make decisions for what it deems to be in the best interest of its people. The issue of fracking has polarized New Yorkers for the last five years. Now that a decision has been made, officials can turn their attention to other, more environmentally-friendly sources of energy for the state.
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