The decision follows the release of the DEC’s 1,448-page report on hydraulic fracturing
New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today that hydraulic fracturing would be formally banned in the state of New York.
The announcement comes after seven years of study by the DEC and the release of their 1,448-page report, which was released prior to Martens’ remarks, reports Syracuse News.
New York’s decision to formally ban hydraulic fracturing makes it the first state with access to significant natural gas resources to do so. Neighboring Pennsylvania has benefitted tremendously from the production of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, so much so in fact, that New York’s Southern Tier threatened secession to Pennsylvania in an attempt to draw attention to how much the region would benefit from hydraulic fracturing.
“High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated,” said Martens. “Prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative.”
The DEC’s decision comes less than a month after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft assessment claiming that “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.”
The assessment compiles data from 950 sources of published information—published papers, technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports. It found that while there are some instances in which hydraulic fracturing impacted drinking water, they happened very infrequently when considering the number of wells present across the U.S.
The ban is not permanent, and could be receded at some point in the future. Both proponents and opponents of the new ban on hydraulic fracturing said they expect lawsuits to be filed over the new restrictions.