Death by a Thousand Studies: Request for “Health Study” is Anti-Upstate and a Stall Tactic Against Safe and Responsible Natural Gas Development

Note: The following is attributable to Brad Gill, IOGA of NY executive director, in response to S6772 by Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), requiring a health impacts assessment for horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

“It is unclear how a comprehensive health impact assessment would be performed on an activity that is not taking place in New York at this time. That said, this bill was drafted to intentionally delay the expansion of natural gas exploration in the Southern Tier. Further delay denies Upstate New York businesses the opportunity to create jobs and keeps landowners from their right to lease their mineral rights. Downstate lawmakers’ constituents are not impacted by natural gas development – except for lower home-heating fuel prices – and should not stand in the way of Upstate economic development. There are no demonstrated cases of negative health impacts associated with natural gas development in the United States.

In fact, a $1 million study, completed last August in Fort Worth, Texas, concluded natural gas development in the Barnett Shale did not lead to adverse health effects. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is now in the fourth year of building new guidelines associated with permitting oil and gas drilling. These guidelines are designed to protect the environment and human health.

This is just delay for delay’s sake, part of calculated campaign designed to frighten New Yorkers.”

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