Cuomo Should Allow Fracking Health Experts to Speak Publicly, Disclose Work

Statement from the New York Water Rangers

ALBANY, NY (02/05/2013)(readMedia)-- Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated on several occasions that science alone would determine his decision on whether to permit fracking in New York State. However, at yesterday's budget hearing, Commissioner Joseph Martens of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said a decision is likely by February 13 because of regulatory issues, unless the Administration's on-going health reviewers recommend otherwise.

To date, the Administration has undertaken a confusing process without the public health research necessary to make an informed decision. The New York Water Rangers coalition released the following statement urging the Governor to immediately allow the national experts working with his Administration to vet their work with the public before any decisions are made:

"Only Governor Cuomo can end the secrecy and allow the national experts reviewing materials for the Administration to speak frankly and openly with the New Yorkers whose health and livelihood could be impacted by their work.

In the past two weeks, Governor Cuomo's lead commissioners on fracking issues gave confusing and contradictory testimony to the legislature. Even more troubling is that contrary to Governor Cuomo's public statements, Commissioners Shah of the Department of Health (DOH) and Martens (DEC) have confirmed that no additional health study has been conducted. Instead, the experts have merely considered what DEC has already addressed in the SGEIS. We know these materials do not adequately consider public health impacts, and we have no reason at this time to believe other critical factors are being considered.

New York State has failed to do its job, and as a result we are four years into an inadequate review process. New Yorkers deserve answers, and we strongly encourage Governor Cuomo and his staff to do the right thing: be forthright with the public about the science being reviewed, let the outside experts reviewing his administration's work speak openly about their ideas, suggestions, and concerns, and open their work to public comment. This is a small request if the Governor is confident of the science on which he is basing his decision.

Unless this happens, and until the public knows with certainty that all protections for public health are in place, a credible decision on fracking can not be made."