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New York Officially Bans High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

New York officially banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in the Empire State on Monday, after the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a findings statement on the practice.

In issuing its 44-page findings statement -- part of the final supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS) on HVHF -- the DEC ended nearly seven years of regulatory review.

"In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity," the DEC said. "The department's chosen alternative to prohibit HVHF is the best alternative based on the balance between protection of the environment and public health and economic and social considerations."

The DEC released its final SGEIS on HVHF in May (see Shale DailyMay 14). The report followed a narrative laid out last December by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens and acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker that HVHF is too dangerous to be performed in New York (see Shale DailyDec. 17, 2014).

"New York has made history today," Kate Sinding, an official with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Monday. "Gov. Cuomo boldly refused to cave to pressure to gamble our clean air, safe drinking water and communities for oil and gas industry profit. The health and well-being of New Yorkers has prevailed over powerful polluters."

But supporters of HVHF in New York have some reasons to be optimistic -- among them, a probe tasked with investigating corruption within state government, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stating earlier this month that fracking to date has posed no systemic impact to drinking water (see Shale DailyJune 4).

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