Enviro Groups To NY Governor: Go Further With Fracking Health Review

Nov 13, 2013

Credit Tim Hurst / Flickr

Several environmental groups have written to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him to go further in the state’s health review of fracking. Their memo was sent as the state’s GOP chair and pro-fracking groups ratcheted up their call for the governor to lift the fracking moratorium.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of environmental and public health groups, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo November 1. Kate Sinding is director of NRDC’s Community Fracking Defense Project. She says the letter is intended to accomplish two goals.

In fact, the New York State Petroleum Council November 6 responded to voters’ passage of the casino gambling amendment, saying more needs to be done to jumpstart upstate New York’s economy. That jumpstart, notes the council’s executive director Karen Moreau, is moving forward with natural gas development via hydraulic fracturing.

The NRDC’s Sinding continues with point two of the environmental and health groups’ letter.

That assessment, she explains, could involve certain methodologies and procedures.

She says there is new scientific evidence showing potential risks from fracking, and the new science should be contemplated. New York has a moratorium on fracking and is awaiting Cuomo’s decision on whether to ban the method of extracting natural gas from shale formations. A spokesman for the governor recently would only say that the matter is under review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Health, with no set timeline for a decision. Already, onlookers have been waiting for a decision for years.

Ed Cox is chairman of the New York State Republican Party. He was the keynote speaker last week at The Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York’s annual meeting. He told reporters that in addition to stunting economic development, the governor’s delay on a fracking decision is hurting the entire country.

He criticizes Cuomo for not making a decision on fracking sooner.

Other environmental and health groups that signed on to the letter to Governor Cuomo are: the Adirondack Mountain Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Earthworks, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, the New York Public Interest Research Group, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and United for Action.