Spooked by left-wing environmental activists, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been dithering over whether or not to approve the production of natural gas by means of hydrofracking from the Marcellus Shale formation in his state. Activists are trying to block approval by claiming that fracking can cause health problems. Today, the New York Times is reporting that a study done a year ago by the state's Health Department finds that fracking can be done safely. The Times notes:
The state's Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that the much-debated drilling technology known as hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times from an expert who did not believe it should be kept secret….
The eight-page analysis is a summary of previous research by the state and others, and concludes that fracking can be done safely. It delves into the potential impact of fracking on water resources, on naturally occurring radiological material found in the ground, on air emissions and on "potential socioeconomic and quality-of-life impacts." …
"By implementing the proposed mitigation measures," the analysis says, "the Department expects that human chemical exposures during normal HVHF operations" — short for high-volume hydraulic fracturing — "will be prevented or reduced below levels of significant health concern."
The Times also reports that a much longer Environmental Impact Statement—1,500 pages—is still being compiled.
Of course, these studies are largely excuses for delaying decisions made politically painful by activist misinformation campaigns. Unless the studies find (which they won't) that fracking causes massive cancer outbreaks and pollutes thousands of water wells, activists will simply dismiss inconvenient information and try to provoke fear and uncertainty among citizens using whatever junk science they can gin up.
If oil and gas production actually resulted in detectable health risks, it would already be apparent. Why? Because something like 75,000 conventional oil and gas wells have been drilled in New York since the late 1800s, and 14,000 of them are still active.