New York State Buries Study Claiming Fracking is Safe

Resourceful Earth has discussed before the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State under Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who some say is contemplating a 2016 Presidential bid. That might explain why his health department buried an analysis that concluded that hydraulic fracturing could be done safely in New York:

The state’s Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that the much-debated drilling technology known as hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times from an expert who did not believe it should be kept secret.

The analysis and other health assessments have been closely guarded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration as the governor weighs whether to approve fracking. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has long delayed making a decision, unnerved in part by strident opposition on his party’s left. A plan to allow a limited amount of fracking in the state’s Southern Tier along the Pennsylvania border is still seen as the most likely outcome, should the drilling process receive final approval.

The eight-page analysis is a summary of previous research by the state and others, and concludes that fracking can be done safely. It delves into the potential impact of fracking on water resources, on naturally occurring radiological material found in the ground, on air emissions and on “potential socioeconomic and quality-of-life impacts.”

So it appears the Cuomo Administration buried an analysis in support of hydraulic fracturing, such that they could needlessly extend the moratorium in order to please the radical environmentalists in New York, who want to keep fracking illegal for as long as they can. Later in the article we see some push back from environmental regulators:

Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the State Department of Environmental Conservation, said the analysis obtained by The Times was out of date. “The document you have is merely a summary, is nearly a year old, and there will be substantial changes to that version,” she said.

She added that a revised version of the Environmental Impact Statement on hydrofracking — which last ran about 1,500 pages — would include more material delving into health issues. The administration has also turned to three outside experts to review the state’s own health assessments.

She claims that the original document was a summary of the research they had completed, so if there were dangers they presumably would have been mentioned in the summary. Does this mean the document would be changed to be more politically correct? I suppose it doesn’t matter, as they decided to bury the document rather than release it to the public.A lot can change in a year, but generally scientific research doesn’t do a complete 180 in a year, so it would be quite likely that the new document judged fracking to be safe as well.

And unfortunately, we see that they also decided to keep the results of their research in the dark, avoiding Freedom of Information Act requests:

Last September, Ms. Nadeau’s group submitted a state Freedom of Information Law request to the Cuomo administration seeking any health impact studies that had been conducted, but has yet to receive any such documents — a common delay tactic by the administration on various issues.

“This is Governor Cuomo saying to the people of New York, once again, trust me on fracking, when on the health impact side of it, the public has been kept completely in the dark,” Ms. Nadeau said.

There’s a depressing amount of transparency in government today.





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