New York State has officially banned fracking. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued the final document this week (June 30) after a seven-year environmental and health review.
“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” department Commissioner Joe Martens said in the official statement.
“High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with NYSDEC’s mission to conserve, improve and protect our state’s natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state.”
New York has significant amounts of gas resources as parts of its site on the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation. The fracking ban is not permanent, and could be repealed. Environmentalists who were delighted with the ruling expected law suits from opponents, especially from oil and gas groups.
"Hydraulic fracturing is a proven, 60-plus-year-old process that has been done safely in over 1 million American wells," said Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York branch of the American Petroleum Institute, the Associated Press reports. "Surging production of natural gas is a major reason U.S. carbon emissions are near 20-year lows."
Fracking is a particularly thorny environmental issue in New York. The agency received 260,000 comments from the public during the review. The responses to the comments took up 300 pages of the final paper. The majority of these comments urged the state to either restrict or ban fracking.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, who is also an advisory board member of Americans Against Fracking, applauded the Cuomo Administration for their decision to ban fracking. He said in a statement that the governor had “set a precedent” by considering the science and “doing what’s best for the people, not the special interests of Big Oil and Gas,” Ecowatch reports.
“Along with many New Yorkers, I look forward to working on advancing renewable energy and efficiency, showing the world that a cleaner, healthier, renewable energy future is possible. Today I’m proud and thankful to be a New Yorker,” he added.