Binghamton, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) New York has been waiting 19 months for a health review on high volume hydraulic fracturing, but it may have to wait a while longer as the Department of Health Commissioner has accepted a new position in California, without completing the review.
According to the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY), DOH Commissioner Dr. Shah stated he would complete the public health review “in a few weeks” in February 2013. That was 14 months ago.
Dr. Shah has accepted a new position with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in California, leaving New York State without the health review that was formally requested by the Department of Environmental Conservation in September 2012.
“The state and Dr. Shah appear to have other priorities that do not include the revitalization of our dying communities in the Marcellus shale region. The health impacts of poverty and unemployment seem to be of no concern to our state leaders,” Dan Fitzsimmons, President of the JLCNY said.
Fitzsimmons emphasized that Dr. Shah’s departure will have no impact on the lawsuit JICNY filed to compel the state to complete the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS.
Alex Beauchamp, a spokesperson for Food and Water Watch and New Yorkers Against Fracking, also issued a response to the news of Shah's resignation:
"No matter who the Department of Health Commissioner is, the science is clear that fracking contaminates our water, pollutes the air, makes people sick, and must be banned. Governor Cuomo has a responsibility to protect the health and water of all New Yorkers and generations to come, which requires rejecting fracking."