Cross Posted from Catskill Mountain Keeper
In an incredible victory for Mountainkeeper and activists across New York State – Dr. Shah, the State Department of Health Commissioner sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens stating:
“As we have been reviewing the scope of these studies, I have determined — and prudence dictates — that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues. My team and I will be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days for first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York review. I have also extended the term of the DOH outside expert researchers to continue to assist my review. I anticipate delivering the completed Public Health Review to you within a few weeks, along with my recommendations.” Read the entire letter here
In response Commissioner Martens issued a press release stating:
“Commissioner Shah advised me today that the Public Health Review of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is still on-going. The Department of Health’s (DOH) Public Health Review, which was undertaken at my request, is important to our consideration of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and I will not issue a final SGEIS until that review is complete and I have received Dr. Shah’s recommendations. He has indicated he expects his review to be complete in a few weeks after he has had an opportunity to review recent studies underway which are pertinent to the evaluation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing impacts on public health.” Read the entire press release here
According to Dr. Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL Catskill Mountainkeeper’s High Peaks Regional Director:
“As Mountainkeeper has long recommended, Dr. Shah is wisely taking the time to come to a careful decision about what needs to happen to protect New York from the harmful effects of fracking. We hope that his future plans include a call for a rigorous, comprehensive, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment that will define and quantify the full range of health hazards involved in the production and distribution of natural gas.”
Catskill Mountainkeeper commends the Governor, Commissioner Shah and Commissioner Martens on their decision to take the prudent approach to this very controversial issue by proceeding with the utmost caution. We hope that the DOH and the DEC will continue to recognize the need for more in depth study of this dangerous practice. We will keep you updated as we learn more.