After health review, NY Department of Health commissioner declares he wouldn’t want his children to live near fracking; DEC Commissioner says risks outweigh any benefit

After health review, NY Department of Health commissioner declares he wouldn’t want his children to live near fracking; DEC Commissioner says risks outweigh any benefit

Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens, and Department of Health Commissioner (DOH) Howard Zucker announced that the state of New York would prohibit high-volume horizontal fracturing of shale after announcing the results of a state-commissioned scientific review of the health impacts of oil and gas development.

“Would I let my child play in a school field near [fracking]?,” asked Health Commissioner Zucker. He continued, “The answer is no.”

In response, Governor Cuomo said, “If you wouldn’t want your children to live near fracking, no one’s children should have to.”

The DEC will include those findings in its own long-awaited impacts document, which will be released in early 2015 with a clear recommendation to prohibit fracking in the state.

Reactions from fracking-impacted communities around the country:

New York statement

“New Yorkers are so fortunate to have decision makers who have listened to the public and the emerging science, and are not willing to sacrifice communities, public health, and local and sustainable economies,” says Jill Wiener of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and Advisory Council Member for Stop the Frack Attack. “This courageous decision in the face of industry pressure strengthens our resolve to help all our neighbors nationwide who are living with the nightmare of drilling–and who equally deserve protection of their air, water, and health.”


California statements

‘Congratulations to all of the hardworking communities and activists that worked to protect New York from the many negative impacts of fracking. Let’s hope that California’s Governor Brown sees the sanity in Governor Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in New York.’ — Paul Ferrazzi, executive director from Citizens Coalition for Safe Community, and Advisory Council Member for Stop the Frack Attack.



“We are thrilled and excited for the win in New York. This is a bold action on fracking, a practice we know well in here California, particularly in the Central Valley. It is damaging and putting residents at risk here. We look to Governor Brown to protect our schools, farms, families, and communities the same way the New York Governor Cuomo has protected the people of NY. Its important to know that 354,000 CA public school students are exposed to the impacts of fracking everyday and this is something NY students will never have to know.” — Madeline Stano, staff attorney for Center on Race Poverty and the Environment

Colorado statement

‘The only path forward regarding fracking industry operations should be to exercise the precautionary principle. It is very clear the fracking industry and the oil and gas regulatory state preemption framework does not conduct itself in a manner consistent with public health safety and welfare.’ — Shane Davis, Executive Director, and Advisory Council Member for Stop the Frack Attack

Iowa Statement

‘Gov Cuomo’s decision not to frack New York makes it less profitable for frac sand mining companies. The more states and communities that come out and prohibit fracking, the less sand that will be used in the fracking process, which helps protect my beautiful part of this country. Thank you, New York.’ — Robert Nehman, Allamakee County Protectors

Pennsylvania statements

The news couldn’t be more welcome, it’s a good sized shot of hope in the arm for the rest of us in the sacrifice zones . It can be done, sanity and reason and science prevailed! I look forward to the day that we are doing the same celebration in Pennsylvania.” — Jenny Lisak, Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Air and Water (PACWA)

“Given what the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH) has concluded, that ‘the risks are too great’ to allow fracking, we should ask for a point-by-point response to the NYDOH health impact analysis from Pennsylvania’s Gov-elect Tom Wolf. He needs to talk immediately to the NY DOH people. If the public health risks are too great in NY, then why are they not too great in PA?” — Stephen Cleghorn, owner of Paradise Gardens and Farm and former Advisory Council Member for Stop the Frack Attack

“New York’s decision will prevent even more people and communities from being harmed,” says Rebecca Roter, Pennsylvania resident and founder of Breathe Easy Susquehanna County. “Elected officials everywhere should also pay attention to the science, exercise caution, and hit the pause button on fracking–and make this a victory for the common good as well as New Yorkers.”

Texas statements

‘It is really great that after seeing destruction around the country from oil and gas fracking that the people of NY took matters into their own hands to protect themselves from an industry that couldn’t care less about their health and welfare.’ – Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH Texas, coordinator of ShaleTest, and member of Stop the Frack Attack advisory council

“We congratulate New York for reaching the same conclusion through study that Denton residents had to live through to find out,” said Cathy McMullen of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group. DAG was the main group that successfully pushed in this past election the first fracking ban within a Texas city via ballot initiative.  She continued, “We hope that Texas regulators will learn from New York’s example and not block Denton’s ban, or any Texas city that wants to protect its citizens from fracking’s impacts in any way it finds necessary.”

Washington, DC/National statement

“In effectively banning fracking, New York’s state regulators confirmed what those living with it for years already know, hydraulic fracturing isn’t safe,” said Earthworks’ Executive Director Jennifer Krill. She continued, “It’s time for President Obama, the EPA, and states across the country to take all possible measures to protect the tens of millions of people living near oil and gas development outside of the State of New York. No one should be made to sacrifice their health for fossil fuel development. The time for clean, renewable energy is now. ”