Gov. Cuomo bans fracking in New York, citing health risks

Fracked well at sunsetAfter putting off the decision during his self-imposed four-year moratorium, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York will ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking). New York is now the first state with significant natural gas resources to ban fracking.

Acting state health commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker presented a long-awaited study on fracking during a year-end cabinet meeting on Wednesday, stating the there is insufficient evidence on the safety of fracking. Dr. Zucker said that his review came to one decision: that he would not want to live in a community where fracking was taking place. However, these struggling communities on the New York/Pennsylvania border had eagerly anticipated an economic resurgence led by fracking, as Pennsylvania and Texas have seen. As Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council stated, Our citizens in the Southern Tier have had to watch their neighbors and friends across the border in Pennsylvania thriving economically ¦and not able to touch that opportunity.

In 2012, Cuomo was interested in approving a limited program in Southern Tier counties, as he had been focused on trying to improve the upstate economy. These counties sit atop the Marcellus Shale, which expands across New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. However, Cuomo after pervasive, strident harassment from protestors and environmental advocates, has caved in. Cuomo seems to understand the cowardly move he made as he tried to distance himself from the decision, stating, I m a lawyer. I m not a doctor. I m not an environmentalist. I m not a scientist. So let s bring the emotion down, and let s ask the qualified experts what their opinion is.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say: True enough, Cuomo s not a scientist if he were, or even knew any, he would know that the propaganda about health effects is not borne out by the evidence. And if he s not an environmentalist, his pusillanimous kowtowing to that camp makes him an honorary blue-ribbon member of the anti-science, anti-progress crowd. He may think this will endear him to his left-wing base, but I predict when the shale gas revolution is highlighted by his opposition in his now-certain campaign for the Democratic nomination, low gas prices here and the potential freedom from American dependence on foreign energy sources, as well as the obvious economic benefits in the areas allowing fracking, will redound to his detriment. We here at ACSH are saddened for the economically-deprived residents of New York s Southern Tier they are truly the victims of this nonsense.

If you would like to read our peer-reviewed work on fracking, which includes a scientific paper, a consumerized version of the paper and a What s the Story brochure, please e-mail us at and we will send you our publications. Our video about the subject can be found here.