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Fracking roundup: Anti-frackers push Martens on health review; Pro-frackers tout Ed Rendell’s op-ed


– A group of fracking critics in the Southern Tier are trying to make sure Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens is living up to his promises when it comes to an ongoing health review of fracking.

In a letter sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the activists—led by outspoken Ithaca database specialist Walter Hang—highlighted key phrases from Martens’ 2012 announcement of the health review. In his September statement, Martens said Health Commissioner Nirav Shah had agreed to assess the DEC’s analysis of fracking and ensure it would be adequate to protect public health.

Specifically, they point to Martens saying he wants to make sure the state’s fracking review is the “most thorough review possible, especially when it comes to public health concerns.”

“In reality, the DOH Review has not achieved its goals and is an exercise in futility,” the letter reads. “Commissioner Shah recently testified for the first time that he and three outside experts who were contracted for 25 hours of work merely reviewed the existing Draft SGEIS. That effort is pointless.”

The activists—which includes Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, a fracking critic—called on the state to undergo a comprehensive health impact analysis, a lengthy study the likes of which Martens had previously rejected. They want a public-comment period and a public scoping document—neither of which have been included as part of Shah’s review—and a fracking decision put on hold until the study is completed.

Here’s the full letter:

March 26 by Jon Campbell