Cuomo bans fracking, based on Health Commissioner's advice
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, in his state, officials announced Wednesday.
"I will be bound by what the experts say," Cuomo said at a press conference.
In his remarks at the conference, Cuomo lamented the emotionally charged nature of the debate over fracking, a process that uses a high-pressure blast of water, sand and chemicals to tap into natural gas reserves contained in shale formations. "Let's bring the emotion down and let's ask the qualified experts," said Cuomo, who quickly turned the press conference over to state health and environmental officials.
Of course, Cuomo is perfectly capable of ignoring the health and environmental officials if he wants to, so I figure what drove the decision the oil price crash, along with concern about inroads from Teachout and Hawkins. But this is my favorite part:
“Would I live in a community [with fracking] based on the facts I have now? Would I let my child play in a school field nearby, drink water from the tap or grow vegetables from the soil? My answer is no,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, at a meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet in Albany.
Zucker said scientific data about the impact of fracking raised concerns, but was inconclusive.
“Relying on limited data would be negligent on my part,” he concluded. “I cannot support high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York.”
Cuomo called Zucker’s presentation — which included a lengthy review of the scientific studies — “highly effective,” “powerful” and “poignant.”
So, a couple of things. First, Zucker mentions not only water (that's obvious) but soil and vegetables. Yay! More importantly, he seems to endorse something similar to the precautionary principle: If we aren't sure what the adverse effects are, we shouldn't be doing it! Both development are exciting to me.