Cuomo Accused of Altering Fracking Study

Capital New York released a report suggesting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office “edited and delayed” a federal water study it commissioned from the U.S. Geological Survey in order to downplay the potential health and environmental risks of fracking.

Capital points out the removal from an earlier draft of the report of a reference to the possibility of introducing methane into water supplies during the drilling, transportation, and storage of fracked natural gas. Language was later added that emphasized that the “risk [of methane pollution] can be reduced if the casing and cementing of wells is properly designed and constructed.”

Additionally, Capital acquired heavily redacted emails between Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the USGS that indicate that the DEC was involved in editing the report for public release.

Capital argues the emails and edits together indicate that “the report seems designed, above all, to mitigate any political complication it might have caused the governor as he formulated his plan for fracking.”

Anti-fracking advocates and industry supporters alike have expressed dissatisfaction with Cuomo’s unclear timeline for a decision on fracking. Cuomo has stated on multiple occasions that he requires more information on potential health and environmental impacts of fracking before approving a permanent ban.

According to the September HBW Fracking Report, “In February 2014, a coalition claiming to have the backing of 70,000 landowners, filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, N.Y. Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the N.Y. Dept. of Health, asking to set certain end date for the current review of fracking regulations which has led to the statewide moratorium. In July, a judge dismissed that lawsuit. Within a few weeks, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York filed an appeal with the state Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.”