Health and Safety

Addressing Risks Associated with Fracking

June 4, 2014
By NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer 

New York, NY – On June 3, 2014 the New York State Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case of Wallach v Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corporation v Town of Middlefield, which will decide if New York cities and towns have a say in whether or not they must play host to the enormous environmental and economic damage posed by hydraulic fracturing.

In conjunction with Julie Huntsman, co-coordinator of Elected Officials to Protect New York, I have filed an amicus brief arguing that municipalities like Dryden and Middlefield have a right to use constitutionally granted Home Rule powers to protect their residents from the effects from fracking.

An op-ed published June 3rd in the Albany Times Union details our argument that residents have a right to decide, through local zoning and land use authorities, whether natural gas fracking is compatible with the welfare and public health needs of their local communities.

As we argue in our amicus brief, localities are the ones left to contend with all the negative impacts of fracking, “including groundwater contamination, fugitive air emissions, methane gas leaks, radioactivity, and increased seismicity.”

This brief continues the work I’ve been doing to ensure that companies adequately address the environmental and community risks associated with their hydraulic fracturing and production practices. Earlier this year, in response to a shareholder proposal filed by my office, the non-profit As You Sow, and 12 co-filers, ExxonMobile agreed to provide increased transparency about how it manages the risks attendant to hydraulic fracturing activities.

I will continue to fight to make sure the risks posed by fracking are properly accounted for and that our shared environment is not irreparably damaged by un-invited hydraulic fracturing.

June 4, 2014

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