By Mary Esch
ALBANY (AP) ‐ Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will move to prevent fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.
Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said Wednesday that he was recommending a ban, and Cuomo said he would defer to Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in making the decision.
The move is likely to buoy opponents of fracking nationally who have previously only managed to win local bans. Industry representatives expressed disappointment but also have downplayed New York's potential as a major source of natural gas.
Zucker and Martens on Wednesday summarized the findings of environmental and health reviews that concluded that shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing carried unacceptable risks that haven't been sufficiently studied.
Martens said the Department of Environmental Conservation will put out a final environmental impact statement early next year, and after that he'll issue an order prohibiting fracking.
The gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation underlying southern New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, was made possible by fracking, or high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which releases gas from rock by injecting wells with chemically treated water at high pressure.