Gas drilling and fracking operations pose a serious threat to public health, with over a thousand reported cases of water contamination, sickness, and air contamination in other parts of the country where fracking is already happening. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania living in areas with fracking report health issues ranging from nausea, body rashes, nosebleeds, hair loss, asthma, birth defects, neurological and cognitive impairment and different types of cancer. Right now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is deciding whether to lift the state’s de facto moratorium on fracking or to allow the time for critical data to be developed from outside health studies before making a decision.
In February, the governor’s own health commissioner, Dr. Shah, raised health concerns and pointed to three outside health studies currently underway that are “the first comprehensive studies of high-volume hydraulic fracturing health impacts at either the state or the federal level.” These studies could provide crucial data necessary to make an informed decision, particularly given major gaps in scientific knowledge about pathways of exposure and contamination from fracking. That’s why hundreds of New York’s medical and scientific experts are united in calling on Governor Cuomo to allow the three health studies his own health commissioner has cited to conclude, and to conduct a New York-specific health impact assessment that is transparent and includes public comments and hearings before making a decision. Those experts include internationally acclaimed scientists, medical professionals and long-standing health organizations like the American Lung Association of NY and the American Academy of Pediatrics NY.
Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo recently said, “Nobody ever said we were waiting for the studies to be finished,” before making a decision on fracking. This flies in the face of the Governor’s promise to do the “most comprehensive health review ever done” on fracking before making any decisions. As the state’s own health commissioner Dr. Shah says, “the time to ensure the impacts on public health are considered is before a state permits drilling.” The health of New Yorkers is too important and must not be jeopardized by making a decision before the facts are determined.
Call Governor Cuomo today to tell him that New Yorkers deserve nothing less than all of the facts and science before a decision is made. Our health and our future depend on it.
Beacon Climate Action – Big Water NY – Center for Biological Diversity – Concerned Citizens of Rural Broome – Democracy for New York City – Environment and Human Rights Advisory – Frack Free Catskills – Gas Free Seneca – Powr – Reach Out America – Responsible Associated Landowners of NYS – Vestal Residents for Safe Energy – West 80s Neighborhood Association – Western NY Drilling Defense