As 2013 begins, a study evaluating health impacts of hydro fracking says the gas drilling process is very likely safe. This puts Governor Andrew Cuomo in the limelight as the issue of energy resources and fracking comes to the forefront. But will the Governor dismiss the report, as environmentalists would like? Will he ask for a new study?
Governor Cuomo’s actions will be watched nationwide as he makes decisions which could impact a future Presidential bid in 2016.
A document from Governor Cuomo’s Administration assessing the health impacts of hydro fracking, written in early 2012, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency.
The document, obtained by New York State public radio and other news organizations, outlines potential health risks associated with hydro fracking in New York. Those include possible exposure to chemicals used in hydro fracking, potential contamination of drinking water sources, and health impacts from naturally occurring radium that could be brought to the surface through the gas drilling process.
While the report says there are potential health risks involved in hydro fracking, it concludes that in each instance, proper mitigation measures that will be required by the state Department of Environmental Conservation will minimize any potential harm and reduce risks. The report, written in February of 2012, says “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF (hydro fracking) operations.”
The report appears to have been intended for inclusion in the state’s ongoing environmental review of fracking. It also advises against trying to do a site specific quantitative risk assessment of fracking, saying there are too many variables and that too many assumptions would have to be made.
A spokeswoman for the DEC says the report is “outdated,” and that no conclusions should be drawn.
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Photo Credit: New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation