By SPIKE TSONG, age 10
On December 17, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York state because of health risks and after protests from activist groups. Fracking uses fluid to drill through the Earth’s surface to get oil and natural gas.
The reports about fracking from the New York State Department of Health said that people who lived near fracking sites had suffered severe symptoms like rashes, nausea, abdominal pain, nosebleeds, headaches and respiratory problems.
In addition to causing health problems, fracking has been linked to environmental problems like earthquakes and the pollution of drinking water.
Before the New York fracking ban, many groups including New Yorkers Against Fracking and Don’t Frack New York, organized protests to try to put a legal ban on fracking. CBS New York reported that in late October, 10 people from the activist group We Are Seneca Lake were arrested during protests in upstate New York.
The New York State Petroleum Council represents many of the world’s largest energy companies. The Council’s executive director, Karen Moreau, called the ban a “politically motivated and equally misinformed ban on a proven technology.”
Critics of the ban say that fracking could have led to more revenue (earnings) for the state if New York had instead charged a fee to cover the local effects of the practice. For example, Pennsylvania gained more than $204 million in “impact fee” revenue from fracking in 2011.
New Yorkers Against Fracking celebrated the new ban and thanked Governor Cuomo for “listening to the science and protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers over the special interests of the oil and gas industry.”