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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Howard Zucker
ALBANY — Hydraulic fracturing — or hydro-fracking for short — will remain banned in New York State after environmental studies concluded the practice unsafe, according to the Andrew Cuomo administration.

The controversial method of extracting gas or oil from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks, according to the state's acting commissioner of health Howard Zucker, speaking on the adminstration's behalf.

The practice, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in shale, has essentially been banned for half a decade while environmental studies were performed. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will officially recommend the ban.

While environmental groups will undoubtedly approve of the ban, at least two business groups announced their opposition this afternoon. Unshackle Upstate and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce released a joint statement slamming the decision.

“Today’s announcement banning natural gas development across upstate New York is a tremendous blow to the upstate economy. This lost opportunity would’ve generated millions in state and local revenues and tens of thousands of jobs across Southern Tier and other upstate areas," the statement says.

"While other states across the nation continue to realize the numerous economic benefits from responsible natural gas development, New York State has yielded to a well-funded, fear-based propaganda campaign,” it adds.

Unshackle Upstate refers to itself as "a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of upstate New York."

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