Lung Association Statement on Fracking Decision by Cuomo Administration
(December 17, 2014)
In response to the announcement by Acting Health Commissioner Howard S. Zucker, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, Governor Cuomo and other cabinet officials, Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, released the following statement:
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who struggle to breathe, we applaud the decision announced today to prohibit fracking in New York. We are heartened that the Administration agreed with our concern that the proposed fracking process in New York would have enabled a growth in oil and gas extraction that increased too many potential health risks, especially to the air we breathe. Yet, we recognize that oil and gas extraction, refining, transportation and use presents many risks to health, not just fracking. We look forward to seeing recommendations to strengthening protections from these processes.
Throughout this review period, the Lung Association has argued that expanded oil and gas extraction and processing, driven by fracking, would increase air pollution in the state, placing residents’ health at serious risk. We believed then and continue to believe now that there is a very real and unacceptable risk that the air emissions from increased oil and gas production would make people sick and shorten the lives of those living in communities in New York where the extraction will take place. Fracking would drive changes that would increase air pollution in areas of the state that now benefit from clean air.
Millions of New Yorkers now suffer from lung diseases including asthma, COPD and lung cancer. On behalf of these New Yorkers as well as residents from across the state, we thank and applaud Governor Cuomo for letting health guide his decision. New Yorkers will breathe healthier air because of the decision made today.