New York state officials rule fracking safe: report

Photographer J Henry Fair visited fracking sites in the Northeast for his book “The Day After Tomorrow: Images of Our Earth in Crisis.”

Fracking in New York State could be done safely, according to a state report leaked to news organizations.

Hydraulic fracturing, drilling that extracts natural gas from underground and which is known as “fracking,” has been ruled safe, according to a New York State Health Department report obtained by The New York Times.

The documents obtained by the Times surmise that the state would be able to mitigate any negative impacts from the drilling.

Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation, cautioned that the document is a year-old report which “does not reflect final DEC policy.”

“No conclusions should be drawn from this partial, outdated summary,” she said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been considering the matter as he decides whether to approve the practice.

The New York State Petroleum Council lauded the report, saying it should come as no surprise: “These reports confirm what has been clear for some time now: sensible regulations can ensure safe natural gas development will protect land, water and public health.”

Many environmentalists have criticized any plans for fracking, worrying that it will contaminate drinking water.

Those critics include actor and upstate resident Mark Ruffalo, who wrote a guest column for Metro on the issue.

New Yorkers Against Fracking released a statement blasting the governor and the document’s “flimsy reasoning,” saying, “This is truly government at its worst.”

“This leaked DEA document cavalierly dismissing the health impacts of fracking confirms public fears that the pressure to allow fracking is trumping the actual concerns New Yorkers justifiably have about how the inherently dangerous process would affect their health,” Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of New York said in a statement on behalf of the group.


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