The Frack Attack Delayed a Little Longer in NY

Despite being linked to major health and environmental catastrophes across the nation, hydraulic fracturing continues at an alarming rate. Gas companies have deep pockets and clever lobbyists that have no problem using misinformation and in some case propaganda to push communities into allowing this dangerous practice.

Although it may seem like the quest to stop hydraulic fracturing is a losing battle, there are small victories, and each one is significant. New York is just one of many battleground states where citizens are standing up against Big Gas’ tactics. Activists, from everyday citizens to celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Yoko Ono, have joined together to expose the health and environmental dangers of fracking and convince state and local government that thorough environmental assessments are needed before fracking can be allowed.

These efforts were recently rewarded as Governor Cuomo again delayed making a decision on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier of New York — near the Pennsylvania border. This means fracking, currently banned in NY, will be blocked for a while longer.

Those who have worked to expose fracking dangers, including thousands of Care2 members who signed this petition, and those who picket nearly daily in Albany, should take comfort in the fact that risk to public health was cited as the reason for the delay.

“The decision to permit High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) is important, and involves complex questions about the impact of the process on public health,” wrote Dr. Shah, the State Department of Health Commissioner, in a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “The time to ensure the impacts on publichealth are properly considered is before a state permits drilling. Other states began serious health reviews only after proceeding with widespread HVHF. In my view, that is not the right approach for New York to take if we are serious that public health is the paramount question in making the HVHF decision. And as HealthCommissioner, protecting the public health is my primary job.”

“I will not issue a final SGEIS until that review is complete and I have received Dr. Shah’s recommendations,” wrote Martens in a subsequent press release.  ”He has indicated he expects his review to be complete in a few weeks after he has had an opportunity to review recent studies underway which are pertinent to the evaluation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing impacts on public health.”

Although Big Gas and its supporters, among them Donald Trump, are frustrated by the continued delay, it’s the right thing to do. They’re incredulous that we would prefer clean air and water over cheap gas. Too often we’ve allowed the fossil fuel industry to have its way, only to see widespread contamination, illness, and disease destroy communities a few years down the road. The fact that NY’s Department of Health is taking the time to do its job correctly is an encouraging fact that means a permanent fracking ban isn’t out of the question.

“If the DOH review finds that there is a public health concern that has not been assessed in the SGEIS or properly mitigated, we would not proceed, as I have stated in the past,” said Martens.


Related Reading:

Big Gas Comes Clean: Carcinogens Used In 1 out of 3 Fracking Operations

Top 5 Celebrity Activists of 2012

Top 3 Catastrophes Linked To Natural Gas Fracking


Image via credofracking/Flickr


Tim C.
Tim C4 years ago


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Kunu Huwa
Kunu Huwa5 years ago

I Greet You!
We need to invest in the now and the future! There is a abundance of energy we could end this drive to have oil, gas, nuclear and coal meet our needs, Free energy like the sun, wind and movement of the water to generate all the free power we could ever need.

Carol R.
Carol Reom5 years ago

If you're dead who cares if you have heat. Getting heat while your being poisoned is no bargain. The corporation gets the money and you get all sorts of lovely illnesses. How kind they are to assure you it's perfectly safe. So reassuring.

Marianne Good
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

We have 3 trillion metric tons of carbon in 4 trillion metric tons of methane already leaking from unstable seabed deposits. That is more carbon than in what is left of conventional fossil fuel reserves AND between 5 and 6 times as much carbon as we dare burn over the entire time it takes to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy. We need to get fossil fuel firms to capture that seabed methane and store it in high-pressure tanks as LNG. We also need to set about BUYING as RESERVES almost all of the 5,800 billion tons of carbon in all fossil fuel, both conventional and seabed methane, over the two centuries it is estimated it would take to burn conventional coal deposits in a business as usual scenario, which means spending over twice as much each year. We need to BUY about 5,600 billion tons of fossil carbon, probably at $150/ton = $840 trillion total or $4.2 trillion each year (almost 1/3 of GDP for this alone to keep it from being burned. When Algae Systems (under contract to U S Navy) gets is carbon-negative algal bio-diesel cost-competitive with petroleum and the federal government gets it licensed to all too big to fail oil firms, that should help. Federal government also needs to push renewable source electricity to replace fossil-fuel fired electricity, over service life of renewable source electric generating equipment.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran5 years ago


John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks Beth for the update. NY is safe for now but the the Natural Gas Industry won't give up that easily. We all need to be on alert and oppose "fracking" at every opportunity.

Nicole W.
Nicole W5 years ago

WTF??? Who voted 'no' in the poll???