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State Considering Studying Health Impacts of Fracking

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This would be humourous if it was not so likely. How in the h--- anyone studies something that does not exist, based under what regulations, construction policies, geology types etc is well beyond my comprehension. Seems that a study is one more delay tactic and that we indeed have failed leadership in this not so great state. That giant sucking sound is our leadership sipping on the proceeds gained by their lack of action. Possibly it could be landowners and farmers sinking in property taxes and debt. JLCpulse

By MIREYA NAVARRO in NYTimes Blogs 8/31/2012

Late in its review process, New York state regulators are now considering an examination of the potential public health effects of hydraulic fracturing as part of its review of the controversial natural gas drilling process.

What this means to the state’s timetable for deciding on whether and how to allow fracking is unclear.

Several environmental groups met Tuesday with top officials from both the New York State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss possible impacts like water contamination from accidental spills, air pollution from drilling operations equipment and higher numbers of accidents from increased truck traffic.

Some of those in attendance said the environmentalists  – including members of major groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of New York, Riverkeeper and Environmental Defense Fund – pressed for an independent health assessment by medical experts before regulations are finalized and any drilling is allowed to start.

But it was not clear what the agencies would ultimately do and whether adding another layer to the ongoing environmental review of fracking would further delay a decision by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to allow such drilling in the state. Mr. Cuomo has been under increasing pressure to ban fracking altogether or at least hold off on a decision until more research is done.

Critics of the state’s proposed drilling rules, including medical associations and dozens of state legislators, say that it doesn’t properly address the potential impacts to public health or the safe disposal of millions of wastewater produced by each natural gas well.

For now, the state only plans to set up a surveillance system to  monitor health impacts once fracking gets underway, according to people at the meeting who did not want to be identified because they agreed not to discuss the meeting publicly.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency drafting the fracking regulations, did not answer questions about the meeting or its implications to the timing of the governor’s decision.

“We are considering a variety of issues raised through the public comment process,” said the spokeswoman, Emily DeSantis.

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