Leaked Fracking Report, Different Lenses
The leaked report that hydrofracking can be performed safely is essentially confirming the world views of both the pro-fracking groups and the environmental advocates.
For the natural-gas industry pushing for the process, it backs up their claims that high-volume fracking can (and should) be allowed.
“Today’s news reports that the New York State Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that hydraulic fracturing could be conducted safely in New York should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched this industry grow and proposer across the United States. In fact, these reports confirm what has been clear for some time now: sensible regulations can ensure safe natural gas development will protect land, water and public health while providing tens of thousands of good jobs throughout the Marcellus Shale.
“We know some will try to play politics with this news; frankly that has been the case for years now. We have seen in recent days what happens when government leaders put politics before the people. We have also seen leaders from both parties here in New York denounce that kind of decision making. We hope and trust they will apply the same standard to hydraulic fracturing.
And the environmental groups take the opposite approach, saying this only confirms their suspicions that there’s a fait accompli within the DEC to allow hydrofracking.
“This leaked DEC document cavalierly dismissing the health impacts of fracking confirms public fears that the pressure to allow fracking is trumping the actual concerns New Yorkers justifiably have about how the inherently dangerous process would affect their health. The state is claiming the document to be outdated, but it is currently the only substantial information available to the public pertaining to the state’s examination of fracking’s health impact; the Cuomo administration has refused to release anything – including this document – and has placed gag-orders on the independent health experts hired with tax payer money. This is truly government at its worst with secrecy akin to undemocratic ruling and conclusions about one of the biggest potential health hazards to New Yorkers drawn from flimsy reasoning. This backwards, sham process further elevates the dire need for a true comprehensive public health impact assessment of fracking.”
From the morning memo (which you can sign up to in the right-hand rail of the blog):
As we’ve noted before, the hydrofracking issue isn’t one that Gov. Andrew Cuomo can necessarily thread the needle on, as he’s done so much in the past two years as governor. Advocates on both sides of the issue are absolutists: either it’s a money-making boon to upstate or an environmental disaster in the making.
Old news as today’s stories by Gannett and The Times may be, they are likely to fuel skepticism from both ends of the hydrofracking debate.
On the one hand is the environmental community. As Katherine Nadeau of the Environmental Advocates of New York told the NYT, “As drafted it is merely a defense or justification as to why the administration didn’t do a rigorous study.”
Meanwhile, the business community — a constituency that Cuomo has sought to keep happy — is growing increasingly impatient. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board blasted the state’s delay in implementing hydrofracking, suggesting that Cuomo was holding the upstate economy “hostage” in order to appease anti-fracking advocates.
Opinion polls — which Cuomo is usually pretty adept at reading — aren’t much help in this case as New Yorkers are all over the map on fracking, despite the spin from the advocacy groups on both sides and neither siding receiving a clear advantage.
It doesn’t help that the basic functions of the regulatory process itself have annoyed both sides, along with the press. When the DEC released the latest proposed fracking regulations late last year, it did so with very little explanation as to what changes were actually made. For once, the pro-frackers and anti-frackers shared some common ground.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 3, 2013 at 11:15 am, and is filed under Hydrofracking. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|