Health Isn’t the Issue with Natural Gas – Truth Is!
NOTE: Cross-posted on OneofNine.info
This isn’t the Wild West, you know. Or is it?
We and our contributors have mentioned more than once one of the more ludicrous objections to hydraulic fracturing in this neck of the woods…the problem of—gasp!—transients. You know, those people that drive up the price of housing, cause traffic jams, engage in public drunkenness, wreaking havoc near and far and then leaving destruction in their wake as they hightail it out of town.
Sorta like students.
The Ithaca Journal ran a piece by Jon Campbell, ‘splainin’ why DEC Commissioner Joe Martens decided “to delay a decision on hydrofracking and further assess its health impacts…”
That makes it sound as though Babs Lifton and her fellow travelers got their way.
Not so much.
If you have the patience to stick with the entire article to the bitter end, you find out that “Martens dismissed requests from environmental and medical groups to hire an outside, nongovernmental group to perform a health assessment…”
So what actually happened?
…The groups would require that DEC conduct an outside health study that would determine the outcome of the final decision. I reject that demand. I believe it is highly likely that some of these groups will pursue litigation following the conclusion of the Departmental process if they do not agree with the outcome.
I believe deferring to an outside group or entity would be an inappropriate delegation of a governmental responsibility. Government is the public’s independent reviewer: that is the essence of the current process. To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong. Many experts in this field have an opinion – pro or con- which could influence the process. Nor could one ever be sure that there weren’t potential conflicts of interest with outside consultants if they were to actually direct the outcome. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure objectivity and a review directed by DEC and the Department of Health is without bias.The Governor’s instructions have been clear from the outset – let the science determine the outcome……Accordingly, I have asked and NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has agreed to assess the Department’s health impact analysis. I have also asked Dr. Shah to identify the most qualified outside experts to advise him in his review. While the review will be informed by outside perspectives on the science of hydrofracking, the decision-making will remain a governmental responsibility….
In their desperation to block Gov. Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York…the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials explore an alleged link between fracking and — we kid you not — syphilis.They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases…And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also — again, no kidding — discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.This is absurd……What fracking opponents really want is not a study of imagined risks, but many more months of wheel-spinning in Albany — and additional fodder for litigation……The opponents tried to push DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens into hiring a public health consultant to check out the danger of venereal diseases and all the rest.Smartly, he went only so far as to ask Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to review whether DEC has appropriately considered health concerns…
h/t South of 5 and 20, UB, & Publius