New Yorkers Against Fracking, an umbrella group of citizens organizations opposed to natural gas fracking in the Marcellus shale, expressed elation today after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on the controversial practice.
The group has opposed fracking because it emits dangerous fumes from fracking fluids as well as methane emissions from deep in the fractured shale rock; has contaminated well water and lakes and streams, and produces waste that’s difficult to dispose of without additional environmental harm.
“On behalf of millions of New Yorkers, we would like to thank the Governor for his leadership and keeping his word in listening to the science and protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers over the special interests of the oil and gas industry,” NYAF said in a statement. “The science on fracking has been clear. The toxic drilling process would threaten our health, poison our water and air, and forever mar New York as hundreds of health professionals and medical organizations have told us. This decision will affect New York for generations to come. We now look forward to making New York the renewable energy capital of the United States, leading the nation to a better, brighter future.”
The group noted, as the governor did in his announcement today, that scientific research points to overwhelming evidence that fracking has negative health impacts for those who live or work nearby fracking operations. Families affected by respiratory ailments and damaged private and public water supplies have sued fracking companies in several cases in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming, where shale rock fracturing has been concentrated.
New Yorkers Against Fracking cited a survey of the growing research on fracking by Concerned Health Professionals of New York. That study, released earlier in 2014 and re-released last week, concluded that there’s simply no way for fracking to be done without negative effects for human health. The health group put it this way:
“Earlier scientific predictions and anecdotal evidence are now bolstered by empirical data, confirming that the public health risks from unconventional gas and oil extraction are real, the range of adverse impacts significant, and the negative economic consequences considerable. Our examination of the peer-reviewed medical and public health literature uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health.”
The conclusions of Concerned Health Professionals were the result of scientific review by multiple activists with health or scientific backgrounds, including Seth B.C. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH, who’s the executive director of PSE Healthy Energy and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, and Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Cornell University,