New York hydro-fracking

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Health professionals and scientists are out with two new independent summations of the risks and harms of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing. The two documents were formally released Thursday at the Legislative Office Building in downtown Albany.

Environmental Working Group

Hydraulic fracturing is responsible for a surge in domestic production of natural gas. Although the contentious process is in political limbo in New York, several upstate counties may be virgin ground for the mining of what's called "frac sand."

Activists may be breathing sighs of relief that the Empire State doesn't appear to be close to resolving whether or not it will allow hydrofracking, but environmentalists are warning New Yorkers they may have trouble breathing, if mining companies start digging for the silica sand needed by drillers for the fracking process.

Tim Hurst / Flickr

New York State continues wait for final word on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial gas drilling method on hold since 2008.  Monday's Court of Appeals decision upheld communities’ right to use traditional local zoning laws to keep fracking out of their borders.

The New York Court of Appeals ruling came in two cases decided jointly:  one brought by an oil company and the other a dairy farm that wanted to lease its land, challenging the towns of Dryden and Middlefield’s decisions to ban the industrial activity there.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

As New York awaits a decision from the state’s highest court on whether communities have the right to use local zoning laws to ban the use of land for oil and gas activities, several local governments in many states are regulating hydraulic fracturing.  Experts from affected states recently briefed reporters on the growing trend of community control over fracking.

WAMC News

A new Duke University study links hydraulic fracturing, the controversial gas drilling process, to water contamination. But, like similar studies in the past, there are pros and cons, and questions linger.

The study, co-authored by Rob Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, found that homeowners living near shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of drinking water contamination from stray gases.

Bosc d'Anjou/Flickr

ALBANY – More than 1,000 protesters gathered at the State Capitol to send the message to Governor Cuomo that New Yorkers don’t want fracking. The action included 130 co-sponsor organizations from medical associations to farmers to the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.

Protesters came on 30 buses, in car pools, rode bikes and walked. They were joined by former Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Actor Debra Winger, and musician Natalie Merchant.

Hinchey called upon the government to do what he said is the right thing.