An anti-fracking protest in Albany. (Photo by Citizen Action NY.)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was expected to roll out new guidelines for fracking in the state shortly after Labor Day. Obviously, he hasn’t. (We would have told you. We’re pretty thorough on this stuff.)

The reason? The state wants more information on the possible health impacts of lifting the existing fracking moratorium. From the Associated Press:

New York’s health commissioner and “qualified outside experts” will review the health impacts of shale gas drilling before a moratorium on the “fracking” extraction process is lifted, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said [last week].

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Martens said he has rejected calls from health and environmental groups for a health impact analysis by a university school of public health or other independent group, saying such a review is the job of government. Martens said he’s asked Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to assess DEC’s own health impact analysis. …

Martens said his agency has been reviewing about 80,000 comments submitted on its environmental impact review and proposed regulations. Many of those comments focused on potential health impacts of fracking, which frees gas from shale by injecting a well with high volumes of water mixed with chemicals and sand.

Reactions to the announcement and delay have been mixed.

It’s unlikely that any new health findings will actually prevent fracking in New York. This review appears to be one of the few remaining checkboxes that Cuomo needs to tick off before lifting the moratorium.

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