Secret New York Department Of Health Review Concludes Fracking Is Safe

  • Date: 04/01/13
  • Karen DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI

A document from Governor Cuomo’s Administration assessing the health impacts of hydro fracking, written in early 2012, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency.

The document, obtained by New York State public radio and other news organizations, outlines potential health risks associated with hydro fracking in New York. Those include possible exposure to chemicals used in hydro fracking, potential contamination of drinking water sources, and health impacts from naturally occurring radium that could be brought to the surface through the gas drilling process.

While the report says there are potential health risks involved in hydro fracking, it concludes that in each instance, proper mitigation measures that will be required by the state Department of Environmental Conservation will minimize any potential harm and reduce risks. The report, written in February of 2012, says “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF (hydro fracking) operations.”

The report appears to have been intended for inclusion in the state’s ongoing environmental review of fracking. It also advises against trying to do a site specific quantitative risk assessment of fracking, saying there are too many variables and that too many assumptions would have to be made.

A spokeswoman for the DEC says the report is “outdated,” and that no conclusions should be drawn.

“The document is not a health assessment, is nearly a year old, and does not reflect final DEC policy,” said DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis in a statement. “The final SGEIS will reflect the review currently underway by DOH and its outside experts. No conclusions should be drawn from this partial, outdated summary.”

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