The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo altered and delayed the findings of a key federal fracking study commissioned by the state, according to a review of internal government documents published on Monday.An original draft of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) study, obtained and reported on by the Albany newspaper Capital, reportedly contained descriptions of environmental and health risks posed by the shale gas drilling technique. However, following \u0022extensive\u0022 email communication between the USGS representatives, study authors and state officials—also obtained in \u0022heavily redacted form\u0022 through a Freedom of Information Act request—those details were either \u0022played down or removed\u0022 from the final published report.\u0022The messages reveal an active role by Cuomo\u0026#039;s Department of Environmental Conservation in shaping the text, and determining the timing of the report\u0026#039;s release,\u0022 writes Capital reporter Scott Waldman.The study was commissioned in 2011 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Capital notes, as a potential stepping stone to implementing a controversial plan to begin fracking on a \u0022limited scale\u0022 in a number of Southern Tier counties, generally found west of the Catskill Mountains along Pennsylvania\u0026#039;s northern border. According to the state\u0026#039;s contract with USGS, \u0022the objective of the proposed study is to define a pre-shale-gas-development baseline.\u0022Fierce community resistance has thus far delayed those plans as local groups have repeatedly called for a permanent state-wide fracking ban to replace the temporary moratorium currently in place. The controversial drilling technique has been linked to the pollution of air and groundwater, as well the increased emission of methane, found to be a major contributor to climate change.Anti-fracking advocates across the world are mobilizing for the 2014 Global Frackdown on October 11, during which over 200 organizations will band together for an international day of protests to call for an end to fracking and a shift to a renewable energy system.In light of his upcoming reelection bid, Cuomo has continually maintained an official \u0022non-position\u0022 over fracking, while simultaneously cobbling together plans to build more gas infrastructure including a gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes region.\u0022The administration’s involvement in shaping the report seems designed, above all, to mitigate any political complication it might have caused the governor as he formulated his plan for fracking,\u0022 Waldman reports.According to documents obtained by Capital, the draft report included a note that gas \u0022drilling, extraction, transport via pipelines, and underground storage\u0022 could inadvertently introduce methane into drinking water supplies.\u0022But the version published after the copy was reviewed and edited by staff members from the state D.E.C. and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority omits the reference to pipelines and underground storage,\u0022 Waldman continues. \u0022The later, administration-vetted version also includes a line that wasn\u0026#039;t in the earlier draft, saying that methane pollution risks in fracking are mitigated by well designed gas wells: \u0026#039;This risk can be reduced if the casing and cementing of wells is properly designed and constructed.\u0026#039;\u0022Further, according to Waldman\u0026#039;s investigation, the redacted emails also reveal that, following the study\u0026#039;s publication, NYSERDA officials tracked people who read the report online and then grouped them \u0022into a few categories including Syracuse and Penn State universities, the U.S. Department of Energy, Chesapeake Energy, state government addresses and a \u0026#039;known state landowner/lease group cooperative,\u0026#039; which is likely the Joint Landowners Coalition,\u0022—a pro-drilling group.