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State stacked against fracking

Friday, November 23, 2012 - Updated: 6:51 PM

The fix is in; the frack may be out.

Gov. Cuomo has confirmed what nearly everybody suspected: With a three-person panel of health experts named this month, the state will now miss the Nov. 29 deadline for the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue regulations for the natural-gas extraction process called hydrofracturing, i.e. fracking.

"I don't see how they are going to make a deadline by next week and do it properly," Cuomo said. Ah, as the feet drag.

Cuomo has been talking a responsible fracking game for years now, but this delay could invite another public comment period -- translating into further delay, possibly leading to the state's four-year-plus moratorium on fracking never being lifted.

Perhaps that's what the governor wants?

Cuomo sure sounded like he was now buying into much of the anti-fracking movement's rhetoric: "People don't want to be poisoned," he said, adding, "There's a fear of poisoning."

Seriously? Even the enviro-extremists at the U.S. EPA reject the idea that fracking is unsafe.

He's even dismissing fracking's economic benefits for the economically depressed upstate region: "There's a great number of people who say jobs aren't going to happen either," asserted the governor.

Pennsylvania's fracking-generated jobs explosion undercuts that argument.

Actually, Cuomo's stalling speaks for itself -- and his actual comments amount to prospective rationalizations.

Maybe that's why he also expressed full confidence in a special health-impact study panel that he introduced into the process.

Talk about stacked against fracking.

In a letter to Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, who selected the health-review panel, Lee Fuller, executive director of Energy in Depth, notes the public history of the three panelists:

* Lynn Goldman of George Washington University has warned of "troubling health risks in communities near fracking operations ... toxic chemicals in the water, polluted air and even seismic activity."

* UCLA's Richard Jackson alleges "serious worker exposures ... will likely cause sillicosis and other lethal diseases."

* John Adgate of the Colorado School of Public Health helped conduct an error-filled study on fracking ultimately dismissed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Sure doesn't exactly sound like an "objective" panel.

So, is the fix in?

Inaction can speak louder than words, too.

-- The New York Post

     

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