Rick Malloy, S.J., is a Jesuit priest and cultural anthropologist. He is the author of _A Faith That Frees: Catholic Matters for the 21st Century (2007) and _Being on Fire: The Top Ten Essentials of Catholicism_ (2014), both published by ORBIS Books
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
STOP FRACKING IN PENNSYLVANIA!!! They stopped Fracking in New York State
Fracking is allowed in Pennsylvania, but not in New York. Why's PA allow the poisoning of our environment? Come on new Gov. Wolf, grow a pair, and match NY Gov. Cuomo's bold leadership. STOP FRACKING! - Fr. Rick *************************************
Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s
administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic
fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks,
ending years of uncertainty over the controversial method of natural gas extraction.
officials concluded that fracking, as the method is known, could
contaminate the air and water and pose inestimable dangers to public
conclusion was delivered during a year-end cabinet meeting convened by
Mr. Cuomo in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists
to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas
trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.
question of whether to allow fracking has been one of the most divisive
public policy debates in New York in years, pitting environmentalists
against others who saw it as a critical way to bring jobs to
economically stagnant portions of upstate.
Cuomo, a Democrat who has prided himself on taking swift and decisive
action on other contentious issues like gun control, took the opposite
approach on fracking. He repeatedly put off making a decision on how to
proceed, most recently citing an ongoing — and seemingly never-ending —
study by state health officials.
On Wednesday, six weeks after Mr. Cuomo won re-election to a second term, the long-awaited health study finally materialized.
a presentation at the cabinet meeting, the acting state health
commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, said the examination had found
“significant public health risks” associated with fracking.
up scientific studies to animate his arguments, Dr. Zucker listed
concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was
insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the long-term safety of
Dr. Zucker said his review boiled down to a simple question: Would he want to live in a community that allowed fracking?
He said the answer was no.
cannot afford to make a mistake,” Dr. Zucker said. “The potential risks
are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”
York has had a de facto ban on the procedure for more than five years,
predating Mr. Cuomo’s election. Over the course of his first term, Mr.
Cuomo at times sent conflicting signals about how he would proceed.
In 2012, Mr. Cuomo flirted with approving a limited program
in several struggling Southern Tier counties along New York’s border
with Pennsylvania. But later that year, Mr. Cuomo bowed to entreaties
from environmental advocates, announcing instead that his administration
would start the regulatory process over by beginning a new study to
evaluate the health risks.
Polls showed public opinion divided over the issue, and Mr. Cuomo felt pressure from both sides.
Cuomo had focused a great amount of attention on trying to improve the
economic climate in upstate New York, and fracking appeared to offer a
way to bring new life to struggling areas atop the Marcellus Shale, a
gigantic subterranean deposit of trapped gas that extends across much of
New York State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Cuomo’s Republican opponent in this year’s election, Rob Astorino,
promised to allow fracking, and he accused the governor of squandering
an opportunity to help upstate.
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.
were aided by celebrities like Yoko Ono who drew attention to their
cause. As he traveled around the state, Mr. Cuomo was hounded by
protesters opposed to fracking, who showed up like clockwork at his
events and pressed him to impose a statewide ban.
governor’s uncertain stance on fracking also hurt his standing with
some liberal activists. Pledging to ban fracking, a little-known law
professor won about a third of the vote in the Democratic primary in
September, a strong showing that Mr. Cuomo later attributed in part to
support from fracking opponents.
matters, dozens of communities 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.
the sensitivity of the issue, Mr. Cuomo both affirmed the fracking ban
on Wednesday and tried to keep some distance from it, saying that he was
deferring to the expertise of his health and environmental conservation
environmental groups cast the governor as a hero. Michael Brune, the
executive director of the Sierra Club, said Mr. Cuomo “set himself apart
as a national political leader who stands up for people” over the
But advocates of fracking accused him of giving in to fear-mongering by environmentalists.
industry will find opportunity elsewhere, our hearts go out to the
famers and landowners in the Southern Tier whose livelihoods in New York
State are in jeopardy,” said Brad Gill, executive director of the
Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York.
Correction: December 17, 2014
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article
incompletely described hydraulic fracturing. It is a method of
extracting natural gas or oil, not just oil, from deep underground. The
error was repeated in the summary.
My life as a Jesuit Priest, college professor and University Chaplain at the University of Scranton, calls me to preach a full and flexible Catholicism, a religion trumpeting the fact that God loves us (see my books _A Faith That Frees: Catholic Matters for the 21st Century_ (2008) and _Being on Fire: The Top Ten Essentials of Catholic Faith_ (2014) [both from Orbis books]). The God who is Love calls us to construct a world wherein all can grow Happy and Healthy and Holy and Free. Christians, as followers of Jesus, are all invited and impelled by the Holy Spirit to live a Faith that does Justice. Justice consists in the Righting of Relationships on both personal and societal levels. Jesus wants us to reach out to our sisters and bothers around the globe who suffer in poverty and share the wealth of the world. St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus (i.e., the Jesuits) said it best: "Love is better expressed in deeds rather than in mere words."