Just in case the seemingly never-ending fusillade of soul-crushing news these days makes you want to grab six feet of holiday garland and the nearest wobbly chair, you may want to postpone that until the 2016 Ted Cruz presidency. A major dosage of good news managed to push its way through a sea of negativity (think a Dick Cheney dust cloud): New York decided to ban fracking. That’s right–New York doesn’t need no stinkin’, environmentally perilous fracking!
After countless years of boisterous protests by New York residents to permanently ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, Gov. Andrew Cuomo–proving that elections do fracking matter–rejected the oil companies. Instead he sided with the overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to harm to public health, using that data as the key to his decision to banning it outright.
“The potential impacts of fracking on water, air, land resources, community and local services are significant,” Cuomo said in a tweet just after the decision was made public. [source]
It’s really a shame that fracking–the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth–is very detrimental to the environment since it’s such a fun word to say. But even if fracking does provide a useful energy alternative to the Middle East and offers cheap forms of natural gas, it seems the environmental and health costs far outweigh the benefits.
For example, the impact of hydraulic fracturing on both climate change and local air pollution is similar to its impact on water, according to a study published in the journal Annual Review of Environment and Resources. And for people who reside in close proximity to fractured wells, they are very susceptible to health threats on account of the massive amount of volatile organic compounds and air toxins in the area.
Wenonah Hauter, director of Food & Water Watch, a group that has waged many battles against fracking in New York and across the country, declared the news the “Biggest fracking victory ever!”
“Our growing national movement has persevered,” Hauter added in a statement. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for acknowledging the overwhelming science that speaks to the inherent dangers of fracking to public health and the environment. Fracking has no place in New York or anywhere, and the governor has smartly seized a golden opportunity to be a real national leader on health, environmental protection and a future free of polluting fossil fuels.” [source]
The reaction on Twitter was just as jubilant, as environmental organizations gleefully tweeted the results:
So even if the air is about to become thicker and grayer than an Ingmar Bergman film come January when the virulently anti-environment Republicans take control of the Senate, we can at least take solace in the fact that New York won’t be allowing fracking anytime soon.
Featured image courtesy of CommonDreams