December 17, 2014

Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking In New York State

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December 17, 2014 | New York Times | Thomas Kaplan & Jesse McKinley

It was something that both drilling companies and environmental activists could agree on: Governor Cuomo’s oft-delayed decision on hydraulic fracturing was bad for upstate New York’s already sluggish economy. Landowners and struggling dairy farmers living on top of the Marcellus Shale, which neighboring Pennsylvania has already tapped, didn’t know whether to prepare to lease to a drilling company or invest in their land. Over the past few years, to ban or not to ban has been one of the most divisive issues in the state.

According to the New York Times, Gov. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State. His decision is, in part, based on a Department of Health study that concluded that possible air and water contamination could post “inestimable dangers to public health.” Inside Energy has investigated public health dangers as well, and came to the conclusion that not enough research has been done to understand the public health impacts of fracking.

New York joins Vermont as the second state to ban hydraulic fracturing entirely though individual cities and counties across the country have also passed bans.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce recently reported on the idea that the oil and gas industry’s fraught relationship with the American public can actually affect companies’ ability to drill. A new concept, known as “a social license to operate,” is emerging in areas with the potential for oil and gas development. In the case of New York, pressure and complaints from environmentalists, a handful of celebrity advocates, and concerned citizens helped convince the governor that oil and gas lacked a social license to operate when it comes to fracking.