NY Fracking Fracas

Activists protest fracking outside Gov. Cuomo’s office in Manhattan. Photo by CREDO.fracking via flickr.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has issued draft regulations for fracking and is accepting public comments until January 11. In 2012 Vermont became the first state to ban fracking. LCC lobbied for the ban and is critical of New York’s decision to issue revised draft rules prior to the completion of a health study currently being conducted by the Commissioner of Health and before the release of an environmental impact statement begun in 2008. NYS DEC expects to finalize rules in late February. If adopted, the rules would end New York’s current moratorium on fracking in the state.

“Issuing draft regulations before the environmental impact statement and the health studies are completed is putting the cart before the horse,” stated LCC Executive Director Lori Fisher. “These reports are fundamental to a thorough assessment of the risks to our air, water, soil and public health.” NYS DEC claims that if the state decides that hydraulic fracturing cannot be done safely, “these regulations will not have any practical effect and the process will not go forward”.

Fracking is a controversial practice where a mix of water and other chemicals is injected into rock layers containing natural gas. The mixture fractures the rock, releasing the gas. The process uses substantial amounts of water and has led to contamination of groundwater and other environmental and human health effects.