As a new Governor readies himself to take office in Harrisburg, one thing is likely not to change: Pennsylvania’s cozy relationship to big oil and gas and hydraulicfracturing or “fracking.” The Wolf team spoke to Politics PA after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on fracking in New York. If there were any hopes that New York’s move to ban fracking would encourage PA news Democratic governor to follow suit, Wolf’s team seemed unfazed:
When asked by PoliticsPA if he supports the actions of Gov. Cuomo, Wolf’s camp was clear.
“Governor-elect Wolf opposes a ban, and he will work hard to make sure the process is safe,” responded Jeffrey Sheridan, Press Secretary for Wolf’s transition team.
“Pennsylvania’s natural resources should help the commonwealth become an energy leader, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a magnet for investment and job creation,” he continued. “Governor-elect Wolf’s priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.
“Governor-elect Wolf will work to strengthen the rules governing drilling, increase enforcement of the rules, hire more inspectors, and create a health registry to monitor health issues,” Sheridan concluded.
Many anti-fracking organizations in the state were encouraged by New York’s moves, especially given that the state’s decision to ban fracking was based scientific study (read the full Department of Health report here). Here is the press released issued by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network responding to the New York Decision:
New York State Prohibits Fracking:
Delaware Riverkeeper Network Applauds New York’s
Assessment and Conclusion
New York State Governor Cuomo’s Administration presented the conclusions of four years of analysis of high volume hydraulicfracturing (“fracking”) at the Governor’s Cabinet meeting this morning. Howard Zucker, the acting Commissioner of Health, concluded that he could not support fracking for natural gas in New York State, citing the known health effects of the process, and the lack of comprehensive health studies that prove it can be done safely.
The Department of Environmental Conservation will be issuing a final SGEIS in January 2015 with a legally binding prohibition of high volume hydraulic fracturing in the state. NYDEC Commissioner Joseph Martens cited the unavoidable and immitigable damages that would accompany fracking, the areas that would have to be off-limits due to vulnerable resources,the practical exclusion of many areas due to adopted bans by municipalities,and the lack of economic benefits.
“GovernorCuomo has made the right decision for the right reasons—he required technical analysis and comprehensive inquiry from his Administration’s qualified experts;he gave his agencies the arm’s length they needed from the push and pull of politics; and he allowed science to inform the policy decisions that were needed. We applaud and thank Governor Cuomo and New York for applying caution and clear-headed reason in reaching this historic decision. This will surely lead the way for other states, especially Pennsylvania, where a new Governor will be taking the helm and making policy decisions regarding the ravaging impacts of fracking and in the Delaware River Watershed, where a tentative drilling moratorium is in place,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network recently released a report challenging shale gas drilling and fracking performance standards issued by the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a nonprofit partnership of drilling interests and others, which assert shale gas extraction can be undertaken safely if done in compliance with a set of CSSD created standards released last year. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network report includes the analyses of six experts that reviews and challenges the CSSD standards and explains why fracking cannot be done safely. The report also provides a discussion of the better energy path that is available for fueling our region and country, drawing upon the writings of Dr. Mark Jacobson. Governor Cuomo stated at today’s Cabinet meeting that he plans to focus on how to support economic stimulation that does not rely on fracking.