New York state puts fracking ban in place

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a final environmental impact statement (PDF) on the dangers of fracking on June 29, which carries the force of law and officially bans fracking in the state. Signed by DEC commissioner Joseph Martens, the report cited significant water withdrawals, increased stormwater runoffs, potential severe flooding and inadequate waste disposal as possible dangers that may affect the state's water resources. The report also cited the dangers of increased greenhouse gas emissions and the release of naturally occurring radioactive material. The Department considered extensive mitigation measures but were not convinced as to their efficacy. "In the end…[t]he Department’s chosen alternative to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the best alternative based on the balance between protection of the environment and public health and economic and social considerations." This decision confirms a report issued in December by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration affirming their intent to block hydraulic fracturing across the state.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking is a controversial method of tapping natural gas deposits with high pressurized water. The method, commonly used in Marcellus shale deposits, has raised environmental and public health concerns. In March, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to place a three-year moratorium on fracking in the state. US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that month announced  the publication of a rule regulating fracking on federal public landsScotland in January announced a moratorium on permits for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking, citing environmental and health concerns. 

From Jurist, June 30. Used with permission.