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Local News

February 13, 2013

DEC: Fracking study needs additional time


“Thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for taking time to do a more complete health study,” said Ono, who has a home in the Delaware County town of Franklin. “We look forward to the results, and time for public comment afterwards. We love you, Governor.”

A spokesman for the pro-drilling group, Energy in Depth, John Krohn, attacked the latest delay in a process that began more than four years ago.

“At the eleventh hour, Gov. Cuomo’s senior staff announce that three studies, none of which are expected to be complete anytime soon, are the cause for the most recent delay,” Krohn said. “Meanwhile, state and federal regulators have stated natural gas development is a safe process and entire states are seeing their economies transformed.”

Sandra Steingraber, the Ithaca College scholar in residence who leads New Yorkers Against Fracking, said the state must complete a comprehensive health study before making a decision about issuing permits.

“Commissioner Shah is correct that the state needs to take the time to do a comprehensive study of the health effects of fracking to protect the public health,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the state Petroleum Council, Karen Moreau, said her group, based on the assurances provided by Martens, was pleased that the delay in the health study would not create delays for issuing drilling permits. Predicting that the outcome will pave the way to fracking in New York, she said: “We also know that it can and must end with a decision to move forward with creating jobs in the Southern Tier.”

Ellen Pope, executive director of the environmental group Otsego 2000, said the Cuomo administration’s decision to extend the health study “is the responsible thing to do.”

“It allows more time for Dr. Shah and his experts to review the data that is coming to the surface,” said Pope, noting there are “troubling” indications that fracking is responsible for health problems detected in both livestock and people.

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