Fracking Opponents Knock State’s Health Document


Opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas are pushing back against a draft state assessment of the technique’s potential health impacts, saying it “confirms public fears that the pressure to allow fracking is trumping the actual concerns” of New Yorkers.

New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of groups opposed to hydrofracking, issued a statement knocking the eight-page summary, which was obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau and other media outlets.

The document concludes high-volume hydrofracking can likely be performed without significant impact on human health with the rules and regulations proposed by the state in place.

From Sandra Steingraber, a co-founder of the coalition:

“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 The state is claiming the document to be outdated, but it is currently the only substantial information available to the public pertaining to the state’s examination of fracking’s health impact; the Cuomo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.”

The state’s chapter of the American Petroleum Institute had a different reaction, unsurprisingly.

Meanwhile, the Press & Sun-Bulletin joined with the Broome Leadership Institute to host a forum on fracking, featuring a panel representing landowners, the gas industry and environmentalists.

You can watch a replay below:

Watch live streaming video from pressconnects at

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  1. The public is being expected to comment on the regulations by January 11 without seeing a completed SGEIS (including the not finished health section) on which the regulations are based. They DEC has taken the transparency out of the review process and have made the process backwards. The public needs to see the full SGEIS well before commenting on the regulations. It is my hope that some reputable environmental organizations will sue DEC if this procedural screw up is not corrected, and I will be happy to contribute toward such a suit.

  2. We don’t need this gas or these dirty jobs. We need clean energy and jobs. Go away frackers! To the DEC: do what your names says — CONSERVE our beautiful environment, not give anyone cover to exploit and poison it.

  3. Whether the DEC statement is outdated or recent, it is wrong for the study to be secret and it is wrong to summarily dismiss the possible dangers of fracking. The Environmental Impact Statement must be made public in order for intelligent input from the communities who would be affected.

    The public health, the purity and availability of fresh, clean water, the prevention of further methane greenhouse gas emissions and release of radioactive radon into the atmosphere are too important to let any decision about fracking be made without the public having full ability to comment.

  4. It is imperative to understand how this document came to light: through media digging and publication. “An unreleased state report leaked to media outlets” is how is was described in the article. It is not a complete document and has been so declared by by DEC spokesperson Emily DeSantis.

    So what was the motivation of to publish a definitive statement about this older summary? Was it to inform the public? I think not. Was it to foster a belief in something that might benefit corporate operations? I wonder.

    The media has a responsibility to report facts. This published article is nothing close to that.

  5. The question I ask is why , why is the DEC non-transparent in it’s health impact statement and it’s SGEIS being given to the public AFTER they are seeking public comment? Governor Cuomo repeatedly stated that “science” not “emotions” will be the ultimate way to determine whether natural gas drilling will be allowed. And yet, the public is being tossed around by viewing bits and pieces of the regulations. My suggestion is, since the science is in and the “risks” are there as told by the industry itself, then the answer is to ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing until a safer way is found. And indeed there are safer ways being invented as we speak. Governor “Leaking to the media” is not the way your oath to us was intended. “Equal protection under the law” is what’s on the books of NY. If NYC’s water is protected than upstate New Yorkers waters should be protected as well. We New Yorkers want a clean future for future generations.

  6. I will repeat this again, currently in the NYS budget there are 15 inspectors that will be inspecting all the proposed thousands of fracking sites in NY , if the Governor lifts the moratorium. All the proposed regulations in the world won’t help the public when there will be little oversight.

  7. Jackson Davies on

    Cannot trust Cuomo

    He is acting more and more like Boehner McConnell Ryan and Bachmann as each day goes by

    Secret studies and secret leaks to the press are not what an honest govt does.

    It is a matter of trust and we are not getting it at this time re fracking