New York bans fracking after health report

New York state will ban hydraulic fracturing after a long-awaited report concluded that the oil and gas extraction method poses health risks, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration said on Wednesday.

New York Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens said at a cabinet meeting he will issue an order early next year banning fracking, which has been under a moratorium since 2008. Once that happens, New York will join Vermont as the only states to completely prohibit fracking.

The decision ends what has been a fierce debate in New York over the benefits and pitfalls of fracking, a process that involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas. Many in the state saw gas drilling as a key economic resource while others argued it was too dangerous.

The state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, said there is not enough scientific information to conclude that fracking is safe.

“The potential risks are too great, in fact not even fully known, and relying on the limited data presently available would be negligent on my part,” Zucker said.

New York sits atop a portion of the Marcellus shale, one of the largest natural gas deposits in the United States. The ruling is a blow for energy companies that had been waiting for years to tap the thousands of acres of land they have leased there.

The oil and gas industry immediately slammed Cuomo for the decision. Karen Moreau, the executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, called it a reckless move that would deprive the state of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

“We are resolved to continue to fight for these benefits in New York,” she said.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, hailed Cuomo as a national leader on the issue.

“We hope that this determined leadership Governor Cuomo has displayed will give courage to elected leaders throughout the country and world,” said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with the group Earthjustice.

Cuomo, answering questions from journalists, said the decision on whether to allow this kind of drilling in New York was ultimately up to Martens. He said it was “probably the most emotionally charged issue I have ever experienced,” more than gay marriage, gun control or the death penalty.

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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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