Is New York on its way to ban fracking?
Danny Hakim reports for the New York Times on Monday that recent "developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is consigning fracking to oblivion."
Ten days ago, after nearly four years of review by state regulators, the governor bowed to entreaties from environmentalists to conduct another study, this one an examination of potential impacts on public health. Neither the governor nor other state officials have given any indication of how long the study might take.
Then on Friday, state environmental officials said they would restart the regulatory rule-making process, requiring them to repeat a number of formal steps, including holding a public hearing, and almost certainly pushing a decision into next year.
Kate Sinding, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the delay "is encouraging news, and suggests that they are not intending to inappropriately rush the health study," the Associated Press reports.
Cuomo has been facing fierce opposition to fracking, with the anti-fracking movement gaining the support of environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben as well as filmmaker Josh Fox, who documented the impacts of fracking in Gasland, among others.
Writing in The Nation, Nicholas Kusnetz says:
A decision by Cuomo to ban fracking would be momentous. A decision to maintain a moratorium pending yet further review, less so—although an increasingly restive anti-fracking movement is unlikely to let any review process pass quietly. For those living above the shale, the stakes could not be higher. “It’s one of those decisions,” McKibben said, “that will be recorded in geologic time.”
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In the video below biologist and author Sandra Steingraber addresses a crowd at Don't Frack New York and pledges resistance to fracking.