Statement re: DOH Refusal to Share Details on Fracking Health Study
Katherine Nadeau, Water & Natural Resources Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York
ALBANY, NY (11/16/2012)(readMedia)-- Yesterday, nearly two months after the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced it had completed a study on the public health impacts of fracking and were referring it to the Department of Health (DOH) for review, the Cuomo administration named the three individuals designated to complete that assessment. However, the administration continues to block the public from engaging in this critically important process.
The following is attributable to Katherine Nadeau, Water & Natural Resources Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.
"While it is welcome news that three highly regarded professionals have agreed to review the DEC's study on the public health impacts of fracking, the administration's intentionally obtuse approach to this entire process is unacceptable.
In September, Environmental Advocates of New York asked the DEC, DOH, and Governor's office to share the already-completed study and related information in a Freedom of Information request. DOH has since responded that it is conducting a 'diligent search' to fill our request for the apparently already-reviewed study, and will apparently need until January 25, 2013, to locate and possibly share it with the public.
As a result, no one knows who completed the DEC's study, what factors the DOH has considered in its initial review, and whether these three experts will truly have the independence and autonomy they need and deserve to do the job right.
From a Governor who promised transparency, this is anything but.
We maintain that a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment-an established process for studying the health impacts of an action, including public and stakeholder input, and identifying ways to protect the public-should be conducted. If the administration continues to object to a comprehensive assessment, they should at least ensure transparency and independence within the process they have begun."
ATTACHMENT A: FOIL request submitted by Environmental Advocates of New York to the DOH, DEC, and Governor's office seeking information about the DEC's already completed study.
ATTACHMENT B: Response from the DOH indicating the administration may need until January 25, 2013 to access the information requested.
Environmental Advocates of New York's mission is to protect our air, land, water, and wildlife and the health of all New Yorkers. Based in Albany, we monitor state government, evaluate proposed laws, and champion policies and practices that will ensure the responsible stewardship of our shared environment. We work to support and strengthen the efforts of New York's environmental community and to make our state a national leader. The tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization is also the New York State affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. Visit www.eany.org for more information.