Boro senator demands ban on hydrofracking

Matt Damon and his latest movie, "Promised Land," are under fire on a billboard in upstate New York. The billboard ridicules Damon's anti-fracking premise and its claims that fracking can cause water to light on fire. Adam Hunger/AP Images for Hard Boiled Films LLC
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A state senator from Queens renewed his calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban a controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing in New York state at a news conference Wednesday with several other Senate Democrats in Albany.

Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined New Yorkers Against Fracking, Sens. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan) as well as senators from upstate for the conference. They demanded the state fund a study of the potential economic, health and seismic impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

“It is unfathomable that the state has not devoted the proper resources to conduct vital studies that would assess the potential economic, health and seismic impacts of hydrofrack­ing,” Avella said.

He claimed residents in other states where hydraulic fracturing is allowed have dealt with contaminated water, increased seismic activity, crumbling infrastructure and lower property values.

“Leaders of other states that have yet to allow hydrofracking are aware of these inherent risks and have proposed allocating funding towards studying hydrofracking before they allow it,” he said. “Our state, which has been at the forefront of so many important issues, must do the same.”

Cuomo is currently considering whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York state, a decision pending completion of a review of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s analysis of hydraulic fracturing’s impact on health. The state Department of Health is conducting the review.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting natural gas from shale by blasting a mixture of water and chemicals into underground. Proponents contend fracking allows the United States to become less dependent on foreign oil and spurs job creation and growth.

Avella also joined several other Queens senators Jan. 15 in sending a letter to Cuomo demanding that the health impact review be transparent and open to public comment. Sens. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and James Sanders (D-Jamaica) and several other state senators from around the state were also signatories to the letter.

The senators demanded that the public review process include information about how the DEC health impact analysis and DOH’s review were conducted and the sources they drew from, a 60-day public commenting period of the analysis and review, and one or more public hearings prior to finalizing the review.

“A review of the potential health impacts that includes any less than that called for above will result in the failure of this administration to fulfill its responsibility to protect the people of this state,” the letter states. “We cannot accept anything less.”

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Posted 12:00 am, January 26, 2013
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Reader feedback

Julie Huntsman,DVM from Fly Creek, NY 13337 says:
The majority of upstate voters understand the inherent risks of this toxic heavy industry, & continue to applaud Senator Avella's leadership. I exhort his colleagues in the NYS Senate, his constituents, and all NYC dwellers to please get on board with this. A ban on hydrofracking is a strong statement in support of our abundant clean water, clean air, and wholesome non-tainted agricultural products. And though the NYS watershed is supposedly "protected" from high volume fracking - via a loophole in DEC regulations, it is not. This is a NYC issue as well. And the pollution travels. If the vulnerability of our upstate environment and public health is not sufficiently motivating - then let the loophole in the regs. be your call to action. Please. And thank you.
Jan. 26, 2013, 5:43 pm

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