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2012 NY State Dept. of Health Document Says Fracking Can Be Safe

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A drill rig in Susquehanna County.

A document acquired by the public radio project Innovation Trail, reveals New York state’s public health department concludes fracking can be done safely. The report, written almost a year ago, discussed health risks associated with gas drilling, but says proper safety measures to prevent exposure to chemicals and naturally occurring radioactive material, would reduce health risks. Here’s more from WXXI’s Karen DeWitt:

“The report, written in February of 2012, says “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF (hydro fracking) operations.”

New York state has a moratorium on fracking, pending new environmental regulations, and a health impact study.

“The report appears to have been intended for inclusion in the state’s ongoing environmental review of fracking. It also advises against trying to do a site specific quantitative risk assessment of fracking, saying there are too many variables and that too many assumptions would have to be made.”

But a spokesperson for New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation tells WXXI that no conclusions should be drawn from the document.

“The document is not a health assessment, is nearly a year old, and does not reflect final DEC policy,” said DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis in a statement. “The final SGEIS will reflect the review currently underway by DOH and its outside experts. No conclusions should be drawn from this partial, outdated summary.”

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