Back in October during the sole debate granted New Yorkers between the candidates for governor, Andrew Cuomo fell back on the lamest of dodges, one favored by many climate change deniers, the "I'm not a scientist" line when the subject of fracking came up. "Let the scientists decide. It's very complicated, very controversial, academic studies come out all different ways. Let the experts decide," he added.
It was not the governor's finest moment and it sent shivers through the anti-fracking "fracktivist" community in New York. It seemed to confirm all the suspicions harbored about the governor on the subject. It was blatant dodge on a subject where the science, once scarce, is really beginning to pile up.
And while we wait for the results of a study on the health effects of fracking that was commissioned by the Cuomo administration sometime in the late 19th century, Cuomo just had a big, fat dose of fracking science dumped in his lap.
Having said he wants science to drive the decision on whether to open the state to natural gas hydrofracking, Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a telephone book-sized dose of science dropped on his desk Thursday by two health groups that want to keep out fracking.
"Oh, you wanted some science? Here's some science for you, Governor Cuomo. You're welcome."
What does all that science say?
Of health-related papers, 96 percent cited potential health risks from fracking, according to the study. For air-quality related papers, 95 percent found elevated pollution from fracking; for water-quality related papers, three-quarters found evidence of water pollution.
The group produced its own 103-page study that compiles available science, along with government and industry reports and journalism investigations. This is the second edition of the study; it contains 80 additional studies new since the first edition came out in July 2014.
The studies point to "Many areas of serious concern to public health, water, the environment and economic vitality," said Bushkin-Bedient. "Science is still catching up to the rapid expansion of fracking, but what we know already is deeply disconcerting ... "The alarming weight of evidence is strongly on the side of caution."
I've long said that I believe one of the main reasons that the fracking companies were so urgent to get fracking under way in New York was that they knew that many of their claims about the safety of the process would eventually be revealed as transparently bullshit. They needed to be fracking before that happened.
But now the science is catching up. In addition to the science, one only need to peek across the border to Pennsylvania to see the yawning gap between the industries sunny claims and toxic reality of fracking. The jig is nearly up for the frackers in New York and they know it. If only they could've begun fracking a few years ago...
Regardless, as we await that long-delayed health study, the governor now also has a mountain of actual, peer-reviewed science on the health effects of fracking to read over the holidays.
(image via CommonDreams)