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Fracking Foe Calls On Health Experts to Push For Public Input

Bob Joseph/WNBF News file photo

A prominent opponent of fracking in New York has called on the state health commissioner and a panel of health experts to allow the public to review a “health impact analysis” being prepared before the state acts on shale gas drilling rules.

Walter Hang, president of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting, says the Department of Health review is critically important because it’s expected to be considered by Governor Andrew Cuomo in determining future fracking policy.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Hang said the scope of the health impact review is unknown to the public.

Hang said about 130 government officials signed a letter to the governor asking for full public participation in the Department of Health review. He said nearly 3,000 individuals also signed a letter calling for public comment on the health assessment.

Hang said Cuomo “simply won’t respond” and that’s why he decided to send a letter to the state health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah and the health experts retained by the state.

Hang said he believes it’s “shockingly improper” not to require public comment on the health assessment process before final decisions are made regarding possible New York state fracking regulations.

Governor Cuomo hasn’t said when he expects to announce a final decision on whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York’s Marcellus Shale.

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