Many organizations and individuals objected to the State’s plans to make a decision of the future of fracking in New York State without a review of its health effects. In addition, fracking opponents called for an independent group of experts to carry out this review. However, the Cuomo administration announced their decision to reject a public, transparent Health Impact Assessment (HIA) process on the effects of fracking in New York in favor of an internal Department of Health (DOH) limited to a review of existing data that many opponents of fracking conclude is inadequate.
In response, Roger Downs, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter released the following statement:
“While we appreciate that the health effects of natural gas drilling are now at the forefront of the State’s decision-making process as to whether or not New York is opened to dangerous and risky fracking, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter is alarmed and disappointed by the Cuomo Administration’s announcement last night that there will be no independent Health Impact Assessment to determine the effects of fracking on New Yorkers’ air and water.
“This announcement presents a troubling credibility problem, as the Department of Health (DOH), the agency charged with conducting this assessment, is in fact overseen by officials in the state executive chamber who will make the final decision on fracking in New York. What’s more, the DOH is charged only with reviewing existing data on the effects of fracking, much of which was compiled by parties with strong ties to the natural gas industry and no health expertise.”
“If Governor Cuomo is serious about determining the health risks of fracking, he needs to mandate a transparent, public process from outside, independent experts. Unfortunately, the announcement made last night does just the opposite, forgoing an independent Health Impact Assessment that would take a hard, unvarnished look at the dangers of fracking.
“The Sierra Club urges the Governor to reconsider this decision, call for an independent Health Impact Assessment, and release a full plan for assessing the health effects of fracking in New York to give New York families the full disclosure and transparency that they deserve.”