It’s official: New York has banned fracking


New York’s ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing is now official.

(Photo: Brennan Linsley, AP)

(Photo: Brennan Linsley, AP)

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens issued a 43-page “findings statement” Monday afternoon, putting the state’s promised fracking prohibition into place and giving it the force of law.

The finalization of the ban puts an end to nearly seven years of review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, over which time fracking has grown to become one of the most hotly contested, divisive issues in the state.

Now, the document will be closely scrutinized by attorneys for the natural-gas industry, who will be looking for any legal missteps that provide an opening for a potential lawsuit.

“In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity,” according to the findings statement, which is signed by Martens.

The findings statement was posted on the DEC’s website Monday afternoon.

The state first launched its review of fracking in July 2008 after gas companies began applying to drill horizontally into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches across the state’s Southern Tier into the Catskills.

The review carried over into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, with protesters often trailing him at events across the state.

Last December, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a report raising concerns about the fracking process, which involves the use of water, sand and chemicals blasted into tight underground shale formations.

Earlier this year, the DEC issued its Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Statement, a dense document that outlined its findings.

That led to Monday, when Martens issued the findings statement laying out the ban.

“The 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,” the findings statement reads.

Here’s the document:



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  1. Today, left-wing radical politics triumphed over the need of the public for clean-burning reliable energy supply that 70% of New Yorkers use to heat their homes, heat their water, and rely on for reliable electrical generation, and used to manufacture plastics and industrial materials for modern day living. It is a sad day for NY’ers that politics prevailed over common-sense energy policy. This day will long be remembered as the day Gov Cuomo capitulated to the radical environmental elites.

  2. When Edison proposed his idea for electricity they said that creating the infrastacture to allow it to be used on a wide scale was impossible. Too difficult, too expensive, too many unknowns.
    It was accomplished. Converting to a safer more renewable form of energy is not impossible. It is necessary. It requires effort and investment. Like anything else. We know there are better and more efficient means, yet in fear of change we choose to stay with what we know must change. Let go, and think about long term benefits for our grandchildren. They fear their loss of profits. Let them step up and invest in renewable energy sourses that can be effective. Other countries have had the courage to do what is right , why is the US and Oil & Gas so afraid to move forward with a change that is going to come eventually with or without them?
    Thank you New York for getting it right.

  3. Better Future on

    Very glad to see the ban finalized, protecting public health and the environment for all New Yorkers. Thanks to Governor Cuomo for listening to the science and having the courage to stand up to big oil and gas!

  4. Fantastic result after years of hard work by grassroots activists of all kinds resisting one of the most powerful and polluting industries on the planet. Now on to resisting the rollout of more pipelines like the (un)Constitution, Spectra’s pipelines, etc. and to storage of fracked gas from PA etc. in the fragile salt caverns of Seneca Lake.

  5. Andy Must go on

    Martens has shown himself to be nothing more than a lying lackey of the narcissistic oaf of an empty suit who fancies himself the governor of this formerly great state. 35 other states get it, this one doesn’t. Every survey shows New York to be the worst state for business, the least free, the least patriotic. Thanks Herr Cuomo and your toadies. See you in Federal Court for uncompensated theft of my property rights.

  6. Interesting how the finding completely ignored the parts of ECL 23 which states the following:

    It is hereby declared to be in the public interest:
    * to regulate the development, production and utilization of natural resources of oil and gas in this state in such a manner as will prevent waste;
    * to authorize and to provide for the operation and development of oil and gas properties in such a manner that
    * a greater ultimate recovery of oil and gas may be had, and
    * that the correlative rights of all owners and the rights of all persons including landowners and the general public may be fully protected, and
    * to provide in similar fashion for the underground storage of gas, the solution mining of salt and geothermal, stratigraphic and brine disposal wells.

    So, let’s see – first bullet violated by choosing not to develop the resource, therefore wasting the resources in the Marcellus and Utica shales. Verical wells will indeed waste the resource by leaving a large amount of it unrecoverable. . First sub-bullet under the second bullet violated by allowing for NO recovery. Second sub-bullet of the second bullet violated by destroying landower correlative rights. As demonstrated by 35 other states, the public at large can be protected, and Martens knows this but chose (or was directed) to ignore it.) Third bullet – well, the NMBYs want to violate this as well, just look at the circus surrounding the Crestwood project iin Seneca. Nevermind the tons of pesticides that the wineries dump into the lake via runoff, and their extensive use of propane.

  7. The Devil Cares on

    Martens, Cuomo and Zucker are three liars. Martens should be investigated for disbanding the advisory panel. And I hold the Times Union responsible for some of this. You should have done a better job understanding the process and keeping the three stooges named above honest.

  8. Even though Cuomo is a lowlife dirty dog…Fracking forces poisons like arsenic, anti-freeze, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid and methanol into the groundwater. The people who are making money on it claim that it can be done safely, similar to the old Tobacco Industry lie that there was no scientific evidence that cigarettes caused cancer. How many people later died of cancer as a result? Pennsylvania DEP has documented 243 cases of well and water contamination and that’s probably not all of it. (Notice that PA. made Forune’s top 10 list of the most corrupt states.) Fracking sets off a massive invasion of heavy industry and approximately 85% of the workers come from outside the area to fill the jobs like migrants with an endless supply of tanker trucks, driven by intoxicated drivers, carrying poisonous fluids rolling down the streets. Subsidies to the little individual property owners are temporary and get reduced after a short time and they end up getting cheated. Any surprise? The rights of the public as a whole for the quality of the environment exceeds the rights of any individual landowner to make a profit. We now have adequate energy resources which are soon to be updated even more by renewable energy resources. There is no reason to do so much damage to the environment for a short term solution just to benefit the few greedy entrepreneurs who are upset about their land speculation investment losses.

  9. Andy Goes Next on

    @FRICK, you make the same old tired claims.Remember high school biology? Hydrochloric acid is found in your stomach! Poisonous fluids? Not unique to this industry at all. Every day trucks carry oil, gasoline, anhydrous ammonia, acids, etc. without any rabid opposition. The list goes on, but I don’t feel like answering your laundry list of tired claims anymore. It’s all exxagerations at best, lies at worst.

  10. August Braun on

    Cuomo, Martens, and Zucker all conduct state business in nat gas heated offices and this state is continuing to expand the use of nat gas and the enviro – nuts can do nothing to stop it as the NY Energy Plan states quite clearly that nat gas is here for a LONG time to come – Preet Bharara will finally get the last of the three stooges and stop the madness in this state.