After years of uncertainty, New York has announced that it will ban fracking in the state for good. The announcement was made this morning at a public meeting of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet.
The Cuomo administration cited public heath risks, after conducting a two-year study. "Would I live in a community with [fracking] based on the facts that I have now? Would I let my child play in a school field nearby? After looking at the plethora of reports behind me ... my answer is no,” said Acting Department of Health commissioner Howard Bucker.
The potential impacts of fracking on water, air, land resources, community and local services are significant. @NYSDEC— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 17, 2014
The state has already had a de-facto ban on fracking while the study was underway, and the state’s highest court ruled in June that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban fracking in their areas. But today’s announcement is still a win for the environmental advocates who have long pushed for an outright ban.
“Governor Cuomo has kept his promise to let only sound science—not pressure from powerful oil and gas companies—be his guide on fracking,” said Kate Sinding, Director of the Community Fracking Defense Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council in a press statement. “New Yorkers have made it loud and clear that we want to keep this reckless industry at bay.”
Yet the fight over fracking is still on in other states. Fracking is ongoing in neighboring Pennsylvania, while Maryland appears to be on its way to start drilling. Activists are pushing Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking in California, where fracking for oil threatens to contaminate groundwater reserves.
Pushback from supporters of the fracking industry in New York is likely too. Capital New York reports that following the announcement, Cuomo predicted “a ton” of lawsuits.