In a surprising move, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he is looking to remove a statewide ban on fracking, much to the dismay of many New Yorkers and environmental groups. Officials are discussing keeping the ban inside NYC’s upstate watershed, as well as a watershed used by Syracuse, but leaving the rest of state susceptible to what many consider to be a controversial and potentially dangerous new innovation in the energy industry.
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is a process by which high volumes of natural gas can be recovered. By injecting chemically treated water into a gas well at high pressures, the shale cracks and the trapped natural gas can be recovered. A study recently found that fracking causes more environmental problems than coal.
Despite overwhelming protests from New Yorkers, environmental groups, and politicians, many industry officials continue to press that fracking claims are being largely exaggerated, pointing instead to the economic benefits fracking might bring to the state, such as more jobs, and lessening the country’s dependance on foreign oil. Various independent studies, however, have show that fracking is in fact more harmful than coal, heavily outweighing the benefits in light of serious health concerns.
The debate now continues to escalate, despite a lawsuit earlier this month by NY state Attorney General Eric Schnelderman against the federal government, after allowing the Deleware River Basin Commission to propose regulations on fracking without conducting a full review on the possible effects to the environment. The biggest concern, however, is the fact that fracking can poison water reservoirs, which would affect the drinking water of both NYC and Philadelphia.
When exactly Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce his decision, is uncertain. However, the DEP is expected to release a long awaited study of the process today. As of now, it isn’t clear exactly what the Cuomo administrations policies are. The report from the DEP will likely include recommendations on how to handle fracking, but so far, the decision seems rather reckless.
In light of these events, there will no doubt be more backlash from New Yorkers and environmental groups across the country. Overwhelming opposition, independent studies confirming fracking’s dangers, and the welfare of New Yorkers in general should be viewed as a top priority before making a decision that would have far-reaching effects.
Via New York Times