DEC says EPA report won't affect state's ban on fracking

Andrew Cuomo

Local politicians and business groups called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday to lift the state’s fracking ban after the Environmental Protection Agency reported the technology hasn’t caused widespread harm to drinking water.

The Cuomo administration says the ban will stay.

Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Tom Mailey says the EPA review released Thursday focused on impacts to water related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing. But he said the state’s review was much broader, evaluating impacts to air, water, public health, ecosystems, wildlife and communities.

Mailey said the state’s review identified “many potential significant adverse impacts.” He said DEC will soon release a legal document formalizing the state’s fracking ban.

The EPA study warned of potential contamination if safeguards aren’t maintained and acknowledged that numerous factors limited the certainty of the draft report.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, called on Cuomo to rescind the fracking ban.

“I fully expect Governor Cuomo to reverse his previous decision to ban fracking which was based upon controversial scientific studies and made to appease far left environmentalists,” Collins said in a release. “Hardworking New Yorkers deserve the job opportunities and economic growth fracking has clearly produced in other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania.”

The EPA assessment tracked water used throughout the fracking process, from acquiring the water to mixing chemicals at the well site and injecting so-called “fracking fluids” into wells, to collection of wastewater, wastewater treatment and disposal.

The report identified several vulnerabilities to drinking water resources, including fracking’s effect on drought-stricken areas; inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below-ground migration of gases and liquids; inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources; and spills of hydraulic fluids and wastewater.

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