At issue: New York's fracking ban and its economic impact

Friday, January 16, 2015
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

People in support of New York's fracking ban are celebrating, while other New Yorkers continue to speak out against the ban.

In December 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) said his state will ban fracking due to health and environmental concerns. Fracking is the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources such as oil or natural gas.

Regarding the claims of a 184-page New York Department of Health report that pointed to things like seismic activity, soil contamination and respiratory complaints as fracking-related problems, acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, "The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known."

Joe Massaro is a New York native currently working as Southwest Pennsylvania field director for Energy in Depth, a pro-oil and gas organization. Massaro says Governor Cuomo passed the buck after a process that was years in the making.

"Based on the ‘science’ of that report, Cuomo decided to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York," Massaro says.

The group New Yorkers Against Fracking plans to celebrate the ban in the capital building during the governor's State of the State address on January 21. But when it comes to the state of things, Massaro says the southern tier of New York where fracking actually would have occurred has seen better days.

"Just driving through, you see abandoned farms, run-down farms,” he tells OneNewsNow. “The area up there is mostly agricultural. If you know anything about agriculture these days, it's not the easiest thing in the world, and they've been looking to hydraulic fracturing to kind of save them and pump money back into the economy, to start giving some people up there well-paying jobs."

The New York Times describes the southern tier of New York as "one of the state's most stubborn economic laggards." 

Regardless, New York already uses natural gas as an energy source. It actually ranks as one of the largest consumers of natural gas in the United States.

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