Environmentalists Want New York To Ban Fracking, Even Though It’s Already Banned

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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A New York environmental law firm asked the state’s governor Monday to again ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, even though it is already against state law.

The firm claims that technologies in the natural gas industry could help companies avoid the current ban, as it does not explicitly prohibit new methods that replace the water used in fracking with gelled propane. The firm and environmental activists say they want to ban all forms of fracking, not just methods that involve water.

“We’re exposing the myth that Governor Cuomo banned fracking in New York,” Walter Hang, president of the environmentalist law firm Toxics Targeting, said during a press conference Monday. “The truth is, he only prohibited hydrofracking and even that definition is so poorly worded that we’re not even sure if it would sustain a challenge.”

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially banned fracking last June, claiming it used too much water and could potentially contaminate the state’s drinking source. Fracking with gelled propane requires far less water and would reduce the theoretical risk of contamination. A natural gas company applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit to frack using gelled propane last year.

Numerous studies from regulatory bodiesacademics, the U.S. Geological Survey and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that fracking does not contaminate drinking water and could not have any large scale impact on America’s groundwater.

A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati published in February found that fracking had no impact on water quality in five eastern Ohio counties. The study was financially supported by environmentalists. “Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek in April. “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”

Environmentalists responded to these studies with total denial, saying “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”

Despite the preponderance of evidence, the Sierra Club and many other environmental groups still claim “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

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