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Where drillers want to use hydrofracking in New York. Pending well permit applications for high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Image: Innovation Trail
Where drillers want to use hydrofracking in New York. Pending well permit applications for high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Image: Innovation Trail

Expenses, health, major concerns in fracking debate

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Governor Cuomo's environmental commissioner is rejecting calls by environmentalists for an independent health impact study on hydrofracking. But Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens, says the state's health commissioner has agreed to conduct a review.

"Government is the public's independent reviewer," Martens said in explanation of his decision. "To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong."

The statement comes as Governor Cuomo says he's not pushing his environmental agency to make a final decision on fracking any time soon. Martens says any decision on hydrofracking in New York will be delayed until after the health department completes its study. He says if there is a public health concern that cannot be addressed, then fracking won't go forward.

Meanwhile, Environmental groups warn that, based on costs in other states, hydraulic fracturing could be expensive for the state's local governments.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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