Assembly Places Moratorium on Hydrofracking to Further Study Potential Risks

June 6, 2011
Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) announced the Assembly passed legislation that suspends new hydrofracking in New York until June 2012 (A.7400).

“Hydrofracking can impact the health of New Yorkers and the state,” Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes said. “Until we have more facts, we cannot risk the safety of our drinking water and the environment. This legislation allows additional time to study the evidence and ensures the best possible decision is made for all New Yorkers.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is still working on a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement that assesses the impacts of hydrofracking. The moratorium will allow the Legislature adequate time to review the study and make an informed decision, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes said.

“We’ve seen the dangers of acting too quickly and jumping on the drilling bandwagon,” Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes said. “We’ve sadly seen numerous national environmental disasters that may have been avoided had the dangers been known beforehand. There’s simply too much at stake. New Yorkers don’t deserve decisions made in haste that might cause devastating effects to their safety and health.”

New York isn’t the first state to express concerns about hydrofracking. Several states have reported water contamination, habitat destruction and chemical spills due to hydrofracking.

In Pennsylvania, an energy company has been fined $1.1 million after two hydrofracking incidents caused a tank fire and contaminated well water during natural gas drilling operations. The fire was blamed on improper handling of a liquid form of natural gas called condensate. Equipment failure while “fracking” caused thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water to contaminate a stream leading to the evacuation of nearby families.1

Additionally, the U.S. Congress has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study on this method of natural-gas drilling.

“I voted in favor of suspending hydrofracking because we simply don’t have all the facts yet,” Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes said. “And until we do, it would be a disservice to New Yorkers and the environment to potentially jeopardize their well being, safety and health by rushing to action.”