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Environment

New York Bans Fracking

by Jessica Morrison
July 6, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 27

New York last week finalized its prohibition of hydraulic fracturing. Although drillers are extracting shale gas via fracking in neighboring Pennsylvania, New York has had a moratorium on the technique since 2010. The ban comes at the end of a seven-year review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation of the potential environmental and public health impacts of fracking. The report cites concerns about potential groundwater and surface-water contamination from drilling wastewater and chemicals added to fracking fluids as well as climate change due to release of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, from drilling sites. Hydrocarbons emitted from upstate wells could also raise levels of air pollution downwind in New York City because these compounds are precursors to ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, it adds. New York is the second state to ban fracking in recent months. Maryland approved a two-year prohibition that went into effect on June 1.

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