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New Scientific Evidence Shows Magnitude of Potential Fracking Risks Has Grown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kate Kiely, NRDC, 212-727-4592, kkiely@nrdc.org
Sarah Eckel, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 518-339-2853, seckel@citizenscampaign.org
Tina Posterli, Riverkeeper, 516-526-9371, tposterli@riverkeeper.org
John Armstrong, Frack Action, 607-220-4632, John@FrackAction.com

Environmental & Public Health Groups Urge Cuomo to Stand Firm on Moratorium and Conduct Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment

NEW YORK (November 1, 2013)—A coalition of environmental and public health advocacy groups today sent a memo to Governor Cuomo outlining a variety of new scientific evidence showing the magnitude of potential risks from fracking has grown significantly in the past year, building upon significant prior evidence for harm.

In light of this, the groups encouraged the Governor to stand firm in maintaining New York’s moratorium on the controversial practice, and urged him to take the state’s ongoing review of health impacts to the next level by committing to perform a formal health impact assessment that would, among other things, provide for full public participation and input from New York State medical professionals.

The full memo is here: http://docs.nrdc.org/energy/ene_13110101.asp. It was sent to the Governor from Adirondack Mountain Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Earthworks, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Public Interest Research Group, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and United for Action.
The memo detailing recent science notes four central themes:

  • Evidence linking water contamination to fracking-related activities has increased.
  • The disposal of fracking wastewater has been causally linked to earthquakes.
  • Air quality impacts from fracking-related activities are clearer than ever. They include evidence of unsafe levels of pollutants such as ozone, benzene and silica dust – pollutants that are linked to costly, disabling health problems.
  • The economic benefits of the fracking boom have been challenged as being over-hyped and short-lived.

“CCE urges Governor Cuomo to review the science that shows fracking’s devastating impacts on communities,” said Sarah Eckel, Legislative and Policy Director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “New Yorkers need Governor Cuomo to stand behind the science and conduct a full, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment.”

“Governor Cuomo is wisely following the precautionary principle by not moving forward with fracking,” says Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks. “Evidence of severe impacts is mounting and both an Health Impact Assessment and more research are necessary—in the meantime, New York must continue to protect public health and the environment.”

“There is a significant and growing body of data and scientific studies showing water contamination, air pollution and public health impacts from fracking,” said Larysa Dyrszka, MD, of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “It’s imperative that Governor Cuomo continues to follow the science and maintains New York’s moratorium on fracking and conducts a comprehensive health impact assessment.”

“New Yorkers have decisively said no to fracking because the science shows it threatens to poison water and make people sick, ” said Julia Walsh, Campaign Director at Frack Action. “Governor Cuomo must follow the scientific imperative and conduct a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment.”

“New Yorkers are fortunate that Governor Cuomo has so far refused to cave to industry pressure to open the state’s doors to unfettered fracking,” said Kate Sinding, Director of the Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The health and safety of New Yorkers must continue to take priority over big oil and gas greed. And the governor must continue to let science guide the state’s actions on fracking by taking the state’s health review to the next level.”

“Riverkeeper appreciates Governor Cuomo’s refusal to join the rush to frack, given the health impacts already documented in other states and the legitimate concerns about this dangerous practice raised by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “People who would ignore the damage being done to families and landscapes across America and ‘drill baby drill’ are the ones who have it wrong, not the governor.”

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization that works to empower communities and advocate solutions that protect public health and the natural environment. CCE represents 80,000 members in New York and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Riverkeeper is a member-supported, watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. For more information, please visit www.riverkeeper.org.

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