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New York Formally Bans High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop Marcellus Shale

On June 29, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued its Findings Statement which officially prohibits high-volume hydraulic fracturing to develop natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale.  The issuance of the Findings Statement concludes a nearly seven-year endeavor by the Department to evaluate the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing under the State Environmental Quality Act.  The Department relied upon information in the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, issued by the Department on May 13, 2015, and more than 260,000 public comments in making the determination that hydraulic fracturing should be banned statewide.  Specifically, the Department found that “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” hydraulic fracturing.  As a result, the Department concluded that prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing “is the best alternative based on the balance between protection of the environment and public health and economic and social considerations.”