In an historic move, Governor Cuomo today announced his final decision to ban fracking in New York. The governor’s decision comes just days after several new reports on the health threats of dirty drilling – including Environment New York’s release last week of “In the Shadow of the Boom” showing how fracking would threaten the health of vulnerable populations.
“Across the country, fracking has been a rolling environmental disaster – contaminating drinking water, making residents sick, and transforming forests into industrial zones,” said Heather Leibowitz, director of Environment New York. “After listening carefully to the latest science and the voices of millions of New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo has decided to permanently protect the water, health, and environment of the Empire State from the documented damage of dirty drilling. This is what true leadership looks like.”
Since 2009, Environment New York has been working as part of a broad and growing coalition to ban fracking in the Empire State. The organization ran a door-to-door field operation that held face to face conversations with more than 100,000 New Yorkers, and released several research reports documenting the damage of dirty drilling, including Fracking by the Numbers, and most recently, In the Shadow of the Boom in NY.
“Perhaps the strongest case against fracking was made next door in Pennsylvania,” observed Leibowitz. As her colleagues at PennEnvironment witnessed and documented the damage on the frontlines, Environment New York was able to relay the latest data to decisionmakers in Albany. Moreover, the group’s sister organizations in surrounding states of NJ, MA, and CT ran campaigns in their states to bar fracking waste, which also helped keep the pressure on in New York. All of this was critical to counter the oil and gas industry’s powerful bid to bring fracking to New York.
“Governor Cuomo has been under immense pressure from the oil and gas industry, but today he made a final decision to rebuff the polluters and stand up for the health of New Yorkers,” Leibowitz added.
While Cuomo’s historic decision caps perhaps the most high-profile fracking fight in the nation, it comes on the heels of other decisions to reject dirty drilling across the country. In local communities across the country – in California, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio - voters have recently approved measures to block fracking. In Pennsylvania, voters rejected another term for the adamantly pro-fracking Corbett administration. And in just the past few weeks, federal officials have decided to dramatically limit drilling in George Washington National Forest and the Roan Plateau in Colorado.
Yet some states are still listening to the power of the oil and gas industry and either hesitating or lurching toward dirty drilling – including California, North Carolina, Maryland, and Illinois.
“Governor Cuomo listened to the science and the real data on drilling damage,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America. “His final decision to reject fracking and protect health is a wake-up call to the nation.”