New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced today that it will officially ban fracking in the state, citing the possible health risks and contamination of the state’s air and water, the New York Times reported.
This ban makes official the “de facto ban” that has been in place for five years, even before Gov. Cuomo (D) took office.
“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said the acting commissioner of health Howard Zucker.
Cuomo’s decision has been a long time coming. The Times said:
“In June 2012, he 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.”
Over the past two years, Gov. Cuomo kept saying that the Health Department’s report was “near completion,” but the findings did not come out until today.
The repeated delays in a decision from the Cuomo administration angered not only environmentalists, but also the oil companies who argued that fracking would bring jobs to some of the more poorer regions of the state, specifically those “atop the Marcellus Shale, a gigantic subterranean deposit of trapped gas that extends across much of New York State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.”
In addition to the environmental problems associated with fracking, critics also cited the effects that fracking could have on tourism and quality of life in upstate New York.
Many towns across the state had passed local moratoriums and bans on fracking, and earlier this summer the New York Court of Appeals ruled that these towns could in fact use zoning ordinances to enforce those bans. Cities in California, Ohio, and Texas are currently also enforcing local bans or moratoriums on fracking, while battles rage against the process across the country.