NY to ban fracking

New York state’s environmental regulators will move to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas, a top official announced, citing studies into its health effects.

Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens announced at a meeting of Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoAs Biden's America becomes less safe, the violence and crime could cost Democrats New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  New York bans underage marriages, raises age of consent to 18 MORE’s (D) cabinet that the Department of Environmental Conservation would release a study on fracking next year.

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“I will then issue a legally binding findings statement prohibiting [fracking] in New York state at this time,” Martens said, according to The Post-Standard in Syracuse.

Cuomo agreed with Martens’s decision. “I get very few people who say to me, ‘I love the idea of fracking,’ ” Cuomo said.

Martens’s statement came after Health Commissioner Howard Zucker presented a study into what he said were many negative effects of fracking and said that he would not want his family to live near a fracking well.

“We don’t have definitive evidence to prove or disprove the health effects,” Zucker said. “I cannot support [fracking] in the great state of New York.”

Cuomo said Zucker’s presentation should inform regulators. “If you don't believe your children should live there, I agree. … No child should live there,” he said of Zucker’s statement.

Cuomo said he believes the decision to ban fracking lies with the environmental agency, not with him, and he has no role to play in it.

Fracking, the process of pumping fluids and sand into wells at high pressure to recover more oil or natural gas, has been banned in New York since Gov. David Paterson (D) put a moratorium in place.

Paterson imposed the moratorium in 2008  to allow state officials to study whether fracking should be allowed.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) immediately blasted the decision, saying it denies New Yorkers many potential economic benefits.

“The governor continues to hide behind Albany bureaucrats and controversial scientific studies to stand against hardworking New Yorkers who deserve the job opportunities and economic growth fracking has clearly produced in other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania,” Collins said in a statement.

“This is a sad day for the future of the economy in Upstate New York.”

It was a huge win for environmentalists, who had been pushing Cuomo’s administration to prohibit fracking for years.

“Mounting scientific evidence points to serious health risks from fracking operations,” Kate Sinding, director of the Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “New Yorkers have made it loud and clear that we want to keep this reckless industry at bay.”

Gas drillers have eyed upstate New York in recent years because it sits atop the Marcellus Shale, a formation that has been behind a major new energy renaissance.

It is also on top of the Utica Shale, which drillers believe could be even more promising.