|Natural gas well in Wilcox, PA|
An unreleased document from New York State's Department of Enviromental Conservation leaked to the press indicates that the state has reached the conclusion that hydrofracking can be done safely.
The document, first reported by the New York Times and Gannett News Service and published online Thursday by New York State public radio, references sections of DEC's draft environmental review that deal with health impacts from shale gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The report concludes that adverse health impacts will be prevented if DEC's guidelines are followed.The Marcellus shale formation extends from the southern tier region of New York State to southwestern Virginia and contains trillions of cubic feet in natural gas. Using a method known as hydraulic fracturing or simply fracking, drilling began five years ago in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Hydrofracking uses pressurized water, sand and a number of chemicals injected to the ground to drill through the shale and reach the natural gas trapped underground.
The eight-page document references sections of DEC's 1,500-page environmental impact study of shale gas development. A final version of that study, which is expected to be released in February, will include revisions based on public comment and a health impact review now under way by the state Health Department and three outside experts, DEC has said.
Cuomo has said he'll lift the state's ban on fracking if it's shown to be safe. The state has had a moratorium in effect since July 2008, when DEC began its review of the impacts of fracking.
The document appears to have been written for inclusion in the larger environmental impact study. It describes potential health risks associated with fracking and shale gas development such as exposure to chemicals, contamination of drinking water sources, air pollution, and contact with radioactive elements brought up from deep underground.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in September rejected calls for a separate health study by outside experts. Instead, he said the Health Department and a panel of outside experts would review what DEC had already done.
Some activists have expressed concern that fracking will contaminate drinking water or even cause earthquakes around the drilling areas. The Department of Environmental Conservation's report reportedly hasn't discouraged activists from protesting fracking from gathering in Albany this week.
Meanwhile, Matt Damon's United Arab Emirates-backed anti-fracking movie Promised Land fared poorly at the box office in its opening weekend nationwide.
The film, which Matt Damon co-wrote and stars in, took just 10th place at the weekend box office, with $4.3 million in ticket sales, according to The Los Angeles Times.Damon denied the film had an anti-fracking message and that the writers and cast simply wanted to 'start a discussion' on the subject of fracking [which in liberal-speak usually means you're supposed to sit and not question anything they say- NANESB]
The top weekend spot, with $23 million, went to the slasher flick “Texas Chainsaw 3D.”
“Promised Land,” which cost $15 million to make and was directed by indie pioneer Gus Van Sant, delves into fears about water pollution from fracking