Governor Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks
- Albany 12/17/2014 (New York Times)
The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.
As months and years passed, the governor repeatedly suggested that the Health Department’s report was near completion, but it 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.
Dozens of towns and cities across New York have passed moratoriums and bans on fracking, and in June, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that towns could use zoning ordinances to ban fracking. Opponents have also consistently protested at the governor’s public events and during his successful re-election campaign, where his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, called for legalizing fracking.