The Cuomo administration assigned state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to study the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Shah told reporters this month he does not know when the study will be completed.
Meanwhile, numerous towns throughout the state adopted bans and moratoriums against gas drilling, following in the trailblazing footprints of the Otsego County town of Middlefield. Its ban on fracking has been upheld by lower courts, and along with a similar ban imposed by Dryden, now faces review by New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. A decision is expected in 2014.
Many of the same local activists opposed to fracking have also been riveted on the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The fate of the nearly $700 million project is expected to be determined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, possibly as early as 2014.
If the natural gas transmission line is approved, advocates say, it could supply natural gas to many local institutions, businesses and households. Opponents argue it will harm the forests and fields through which it is constructed, and its gas could end up being converted to liquified natural gas for overseas export.