New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation released the long-awaited final version of its environmental review of high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The final report includes the Department of Health's review of health risks. There’s also studies of spills and other incidents in Pennsylvania and the atmospheric effects of emissions from drilling operations.
Joe Martens, the DEC’s Commissioner, announced in December the review’s conclusion that hydrofracking couldn’t be done safely in New York. But now that announcement is closer to becoming official. Martens will issue a formal finding statement, the final step in the process, in ten days.
Some opponents of hydrofracking are concerned that a future administration could reverse this decision. Kate Sinding [SIN-ding] is an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Councils. She says it’s not likely that the decision will be reversed anytime soon.
“While that’s something that could be procedurally done, it would be time-consuming, needless to say. It would implicate all the same political concerns and generate the same kinds of public outrage as we’ve seen over the last six or seven years so there’s nothing that’s easily undone here.”
Sinding says the amount of time and detail put into the report will help protect it against legal challenges from the drilling industry. New York is the first state that sits over large gas deposits to prohibit hydrofracking inside its borders.