State Considering Studying Health Impacts of Fracking

State Considering Studying Health Impacts of Fracking by Mireya Navaroo, August 31, 2012, The New York Times
Late in its review process, New York state regulators are now considering an examination of the potential public health effects of hydraulic fracturing as part of its review of the controversial natural gas drilling process. What this means to the state’s timetable for deciding on whether and how to allow fracking is unclear. Several environmental groups met Tuesday with top officials from both the New York State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss possible impacts like water contamination from accidental spills, air pollution from drilling operations equipment and higher numbers of accidents from increased truck traffic. … But it was not clear what the agencies would ultimately do and whether adding another layer to the ongoing environmental review of fracking would further delay a decision by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to allow such drilling in the state. Mr. Cuomo has been under increasing pressure to ban fracking altogether or at least hold off on a decision until more research is done. Critics of the state’s proposed drilling rules, including medical associations and dozens of state legislators, say that it doesn’t properly address the potential impacts to public health or the safe disposal of millions of wastewater produced by each natural gas well. For now, the state only plans to set up a surveillance system to monitor health impacts once fracking gets underway, according to people at the meeting who did not want to be identified because they agreed not to discuss the meeting publicly.

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