New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has postponed decision on fracking pending further health study
Ossining, NY - February 12, 2013 - In a testament to the power of one of the greatest grassroots movements this state has ever seen, Commissioners Dr. Nirav Shah of the Department of Health (DOH) and Joseph Martens of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced today that they will postpone the decision on whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State pending further review of fracking’s impacts on human health. DEC will wait to finalize the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on fracking until after DOH completes the public health review, which DEC requested in November of 2012.
In response to the inspiring news, Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper, released the following statement:
"Riverkeeper applauds Governor Cuomo and Commissioners Shah and Martens for postponing the decision on fracking, as the science and facts of fracking’s human health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts remain unclear. Riverkeeper has long called for a robust and transparent Health Impact Assessment that will analyze the full range of fracking’s potential impacts to human health, and we are gratified that the actions taken today could allow the state to take the time to ensure such impacts are properly considered. We do not agree, however, with Commissioner Martens that DEC may issue fracking permits without first implementing protective regulations, and we will be watching this issue carefully."
(Catskill Mountainkeeper - The Advocate for the Catskills)
Governor Cuomo Delays Fracking Decision
Department of Health Commisioner Dr. Shaw Says He Needs More Time to Complete Health Review Forcing the Department of Environmental Conservation To Miss Key Deadline
In an incredible victory for Mountainkeeper and activists across New York State - Dr. Shaw, the State Department of Health Commissioner sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens stating:
"As we have been reviewing the scope of these studies, I have determined -- and prudence dictates -- that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues. My team and I will be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days for first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York review. I have also extended the term of the DOH outside expert researchers to continue to assist my review. I anticipate delivering the completed Public Health Review to you within a few weeks, along with my recommendations." Read the entire letter here.
In response Commissioner Martens issued a press release stating: "Commissioner Shah advised me today that the Public Health Review of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is still on-going. The Department of Health?s (DOH) Public Health Review, which was undertaken at my request, is important to our consideration of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and I will not issue a final SGEIS until that review is complete and I have received Dr. Shah?s recommendations. 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." Read the entire press release here
According to Dr. Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL Catskill Mountainkeeper's High Peaks Regional Director: "As Mountainkeeper has long recommended, Dr. Shaw is wisely taking the time to come to a careful decision about what needs to happen to protect New York from the harmful effects of fracking. We hope that his future plans include a call for a rigorous, comprehensive, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment that will define and quantify the full range of health hazards involved in the production and distribution of natural gas."
Catskill Mountainkeeper commends the Governor, Commissioner Shaw and Commissioner Martens on their decision to take the prudent approach to this very controversial issue by proceeding with the utmost caution. We hope that the DOH and the DEC will continue to recognize the need for more in depth study of this dangerous practice. We will keep you updated as we learn more.