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 listened to a presentation on fracking at a cabinet meeting in Albany Wednesday. Credit Mike Groll/Associated Press
The acting state health commissioner, Howard Zucker, speaking at the meeting. Credit Mike Groll/Associated Press
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.
State officials concluded that fracking, as the method is known, could contaminate the air and water and pose inestimable dangers to public health.
That 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.
The 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.
Mr. 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.
In 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.
Holding 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 fracking.
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.
“We cannot afford to make a mistake,” Dr. Zucker said. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”
New 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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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.
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.
Opponents 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.
The 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.
Complicating 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.
Recognizing 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 commissioners.
Nevertheless, 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 energy industry.
But advocates of fracking accused him of giving in to fear-mongering by environmentalists.
“While 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.


Health Department Report on Fracking in New York State

The Cuomo administration decided to ban hydraulic fracturing after concluding that the method posed inestimable public-health risks.
OPEN Document
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.

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