New York Will Prohibit Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development

On December 17, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration said it would ban hydraulic fracturing for shale gas development throughout the state.   Dr. Howard Zucker, the Acting Commissioner of Health, announced that the state Department of Health (DOH) completed its long-awaited public health review report, which recommended prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in New York.  Citing significant uncertainties regarding risks to public health, Dr. Zucker said “it would be reckless to proceed [with hydraulic fracturing] in New York until more authoritative research is done.”  Based upon the DOH report, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced that the NYSDEC will issue a legally-binding findings statement that will prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the state.  Martens noted that “with the exclusion of sensitive natural, cultural and historic resources and the increasing number of towns that have enacted bans and moratoria, the risks substantially outweigh any potential economic benefits” of hydraulic fracturing.  A copy of the DOH public health report can be found here.