By Jay Lawson
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officially prohibited high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in New York State by issuing its formal Findings Statement on Monday, June 29.
This completed the state’s seven-year review of the activity.
New York is now the first state with a major shale deposit to prohibit the fracking.
“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
About 32 hours later, Martens announced his resignation from the DEC to rejoin the Open Space Institute (OSI), as a consultant for Land Conservation and Climate Change.
Martens had served as president of the Open Space Institute from 1998 through 2010, before being appointed DEC Commissioner.
“We are excited that Joe Martens is joining our OSI family,” said John Adams, Chairman of the OSI Board of Trustees. “He has an impressive track record and a profound commitment to protecting our natural resources. We are lucky to have him!”
Martens said he is happy to be returning to OSI.
“I am excited to rejoin my friends and colleagues at the Open Space Institute,” Martens said. “OSI is an extraordinary conservation organization with a talented and dedicated board and staff and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them.”
Martens announced his plan to ban fracking last December, but enacted the prohibition this week.
Fracking, a technique used to extract natural gas from underground shale deposits, has fueled economic booms in North Dakota and Pennsylvania.
“High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated,” Martens said.
The DEC Findings Statement concludes that there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and address risks to public health from this activity.
Additionally, the DEC warned that encouraging more fracking in New York will lead to “growth in the natural gas industry,” with more pipelines and compressor stations that could harm state owned preserves, freshwater wetlands and forests.