Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, a move that strikes a serious blow to frac sand producers supplying product to the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in that state.
Fracking has been heavily promoted as a source of economic revival for depressed communities along New York’s border with Pennsylvania, and Cuomo had once been poised to embrace it. The state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, said there is not enough scientific information to conclude that fracking is safe.
The question of whether to allow fracking has been one of the most divisive public policy debates in New York in years. Fracking is booming in states such as Pennsylvania and Texas. Environmental advocates, alarmed by the growth of the practice, pointed to New York’s decision as the first ban by a state with significant natural-gas resources.
American Petroleum Institute (API) New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau said Gov. Cuomo acted irresponsibly by issuing a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, putting the state’s economy on a reckless path and ignoring the needs of New York families, economic opportunity, job creation, revenue to the government, and America’s need for energy security.
“Today’s action by Governor Cuomo shows that New York families, teachers, roads and good-paying jobs have lost out to political gamesmanship. This is the wrong direction for New York,” she said.
“Robust regulations exist at the federal and state levels nationwide for natural gas development and environmental protection. A politically motivated and equally misinformed ban on a proven technology used for over 60 years – throughout the country to great success – is short-sighted and reckless, particularly when New York depends on safely produced natural gas just over the border in Pennsylvania,” she added.
“New York is sitting on a major opportunity to help fuel America’s future. Just next door in Pennsylvania, more than $630 million has been distributed to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in just 2014. These once economically challenged areas are now thriving. The commonwealth has also benefited from over $2.1 billion in state and local taxes generated by the shale energy industry. Revenue from natural gas production supports road and bridge improvements, water and sewer projects, local housing initiatives, environmental programs and rehabilitation of greenways. We are resolved to continue to fight for these benefits in New York,” Moreau concluded.