NY Democrat Assembly Tries New Tactic to Derail Fracking

no cabalIn a measure backed by the anti-drilling Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the New York State Assembly has set aside $100,000 to conduct an “independent” health impact study of hydraulic fracturing in its budget for next fiscal year. The measure was proposed by NY State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (Democrat from Ithaca, NY). Lifton is part of an anti-drilling cabal of the NRDC, Park Foundation and others who are desperately trying to prevent hydraulic fracturing from happening in New York State. Chief tactic number one? Slow it down by delays and studies until they can eventually kill it.

Environmental and health groups are praising the New York State Assembly for including an independent health impact study of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in its budget proposal on Monday.

Numerous physicians, health organizations and environmental groups have criticized the Department of Environmental Conservation for not including a comprehensive health impact study in its environmental review of gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Gas drilling in New York’s part of the Marcellus Shale has been on hold since the DEC review began in 2008. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens have said the review and new regulations are expected to be completed within a few months.

The Assembly bill would set aside $100,000 for a study by a school of public health within the state university system following a model recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before the study, the school would have to prepare a document outlining its plans, and the public would have the opportunity to comment and suggest changes.

The study would include research into other states’ experiences with fracking; estimated costs of any health impacts to the state, insurers, employers and the health care system; and a long-term plan for monitoring and mitigating health impacts.

“This study will go a long way to answer the many questions New Yorkers have about what fracking would mean for their health if this goes forward,” Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, who proposed the study, said in a prepared statement. Lifton is a Democrat from Ithaca.

“New York State has to date failed to take a hard look at the health impacts of fracking,” said Katherine Nadeau of NRDC. “By calling for an independent study of fracking’s health impacts, the Assembly is leading the charge to provide state leaders with the science necessary to make informed decisions.”*

Fortunately the New York Senate version of the budget doesn’t have this huge-waste-of-taxpayer-money-transparently-yet-another-delay-tactic in it. However, NY Republicans have been somewhat spineless when it comes to safe drilling in the state, so who knows what will happen when this reaches reconciliation?

*Syracuse The Post-Standard/AP (Mar 12, 2012) – New York Assembly calls for hydrofracking health impact study

  • Anonymous

    I have been in the oil and gas business since 1976. I started on the drilling side of the business and worked around the hydraulic fracturing process. I, along with a lot of my co-workers at that time, should no longer be alive, if the Fracking fluid is so dangerous! But, here we are, still working, paying our taxes,  trying to get our country back from the environmentalists and politicians. My only regret is that I should have spent less time working over the years and paid more attention to what these people were doing to our country in an effort to stop them. I have been voting. But, after voting, I went back to work, continued to pay my taxes,  and  I let our politicians line their own pockets with environmental and lawyer money. Big mistake!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I have just read the October 6, 2011 special Committee on Environmental Conservation Meeting that was held be the NYS Assembly. Barbara Lifton was one of the assembly panelists at this meeting. Let me tell you that her comments and verbal abuse of the DEC is appalling. Who would vote for these bunch of clowns? There illogical statements still have me shaking my head. Barbara Lifton, Robert Sweeney and Daniel O’Donnell, are you listening? I am a New York State resident, employer and employee. The three of you should be ashamed of the meeting and of your elitist, condescending attitude towards our DEC. They have the knowledge and expertise to weigh in on these affairs, but your predisposed bias couldnt take a back seat. If I lived in your district, I would personally run against you and thrash you at the polls.