New York state Health Department: Fracking is safe, but don’t tell anyone

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According to an analysis conducted last year, the New York state Health Department found that hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York. This much-debated procedure, formally known as high volume hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting sand, water and chemicals underground at high pressure to extract natural gas from rock formations.

The analysis details the potential impact that fracking may have on water resources, on naturally occurring radiological material found in the ground, on air emissions and on possible socioeconomic and quality-of-life impacts, and concludes that “by implementing the proposed mitigation measures, the Department expects that human chemical exposures during normal HVHF operations will be prevented or reduced below levels of significant health concern.”

However, there are still some skeptics and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration continue to delay making a decision on whether or not to allow fracking due to opposition from radical anti-fracking advocacy groups, based on hypothetical concerns about water and air contamination. Environmental groups have also complained that the state has not made documents regarding health assessments of fracking available to the public and these groups question whether the state’s “lack of transparency is hiding a lack of rigor in its assessment of public health risks.”

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross added, “I wonder why this summary report was kept under wraps for this length of time. The official position of the New York State Health Dept. may yet be that fracking can be done safely in the state. They seemed to have discovered that the earth is, in fact, round. Hydraulic fracturing has been carried out safely in many areas of our country for decades. It is only when the technology crept near the activist homeland of the Marcellus shale of New York that all the uproar has commenced. I suppose that after a few more years, Gov. Cuomo, or his successor, will allow the energy and economic benefits of fracking to cross the border into our state at last.”

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