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Gov. Cuomo Sets Open-Ended Deadline For Fracking Health Assessment Report

Cuomo: 'This Is A Big Decision For The State'
Fracking Rig (file / credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Fracking Rig (file/credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As New York State continues to weigh whether to engage in the controversial process to extract natural gas from under ground known as hydrofracking, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there is now has an open-ended deadline for the state report on the process.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

The deadline for the state to complete its review of hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses water and chemicals to extract natural gas from the earth, was set for next week.

“That process is going to be going on. They’re not going to get that done within the next week, but it is very important. This is a big decision for the state. It has potential economic benefits if the state goes forward with fracking, but we want to make sure that it’s safe,” Cuomo told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Cuomo has instead initiated a new review into fracking.

“We have a review panel that is working on analyzing and understanding the health impacts of fracking,” he said.

Cuomo said his health commissioner is leading the new assessment, but said no timeline has been established.

“We want to make sure that the environment is protected and people are protected and that’s why we’re doing a health assessment,” Cuomo said. “I told him to do it expeditiously, but also do it properly.”

The controversial mining process pulls trapped natural gas from deep underground by injecting water, sand and traces of some toxic chemicals deep into rock called the Marcellus Shale in the mountains upstate.

Industry backers insist it’s not a threat to the water supply, while opponents say it poses varied risks.

The state has already placed major upstate watersheds off-limits for hydrofracking.

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