Independent doctors want health impact study done on hydrofracking
A group of independent doctors are lobbying for an independent health impact study on hydrofracking. Our Nick Reisman has more.
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NEW YORK STATE -- The contentious debate over whether New York should allow high-volume hydrofracking in order to access natural gas, Governor Andrew Cuomo is feeling pressure on both sides of the issue. The renewed focus comes as Department of Environmental Conservation announced it would conduct a state-run health review of process.
Cuomo said, “I think it will be a more thorough review and it will be a stronger review to withstand a legal challenge.”
Environmentalists had called for a review from outside experts. The governor says the state will use outside advisers instead. He's defended that move while also denying claims from the natural gas industry that he's stalling on a decision.
“There is no step back. A number of environmental groups had come in and stated basically a unified position that there should be an independent public health review. And that was there quote-un-quote demand,” Cuomo said. “The independent review is actually what government does.”
But supporters of hydrofracking, like Republican U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long, say the governor is being pressured by environmental groups to not allow fracking. Long says thousands of jobs could be created, especially in the upstate region.
Long said, “We need to give him the encouragement to the do the right thing instead of being brow beaten and threatened by these people who have no stake in the economic future of New York and don't care about the people who need jobs.”
For their part, environmentalist who pushed Cuomo on the health review say they're heartened by the move, but at the Capitol on Thursday called for a transparent process.
“The governor has said he's looking at science to direct what he does. This may be a way of looking at the science. But we're also looking at the science. But we're also talking about process and it's the process of doing a health impact analysis. And by DEC I'm questioning their expertise, their public health expertise,” child health advocate Larysa Dyrszka.
Advocates delivered a letter to Cuomo on Thursday calling for full assessment of the possible adverse effects of fracking.