New York state has officially banned hydraulic fracturing.
The state, following through on a decision Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo made in December, released its formal study of the drilling practice Monday after almost seven years of study. The report, which drew the same conclusions as a shorter version released Dec. 17, said studies on fracking’s effects on water, air and soil are inconsistent, incomplete and raise too many red flags.
“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” Joe Martens, commissioner of the Environmental Conservation Department, said in a statement.
Parts of New York sit atop the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation, and Cuomo had been trying to balance the prospects for the economic development seen in Ohio and Pennsylvania against environmentalists’ warnings that fracking might taint water and make farmland unusable.
The balancing act ended in December with Cuomo’s decision to follow the advice of the health department and ban the practice. The move was hailed by environmentalists and derided in the economically depressed Southern Tier region.