Jaffee Hails Assembly Passage of Hydrofracking Moratorium

May 31, 2011

Albany, NY - Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) today hailed the Assembly passage of legislation she co-sponsored that suspends new hydrofracking in New York until June 2012 (A.7400).

“There’s a real risk that hydrofracking can impact the health of New Yorkers and the state,” Assemblywoman Jaffee said. “This legislation allows additional time to study the evidence as a means of ensuring best, safest 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, Assemblywoman Jaffee said.

“We’ve know too well the dangers of acting too quickly or recklessly to extract resources,” Assemblywoman Jaffee said. “We’ve sadly seen numerous national environmental disasters that may have been avoided had the dangers been known beforehand. We can’t cut corners on protecting New Yorkers’ 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.

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 to suspend hydrofracking because we simply can’t yet measure it’s potential impact,” Assemblywoman Jaffee said. “And until that’s possible, we cannot conscionably put New Yorkers and our environment at risk by rushing to action.”