After four years of reviewing hydraulic fracturing, New York environmental officials will undertake yet another study this one on potential health repercussions.
Fracking, the industrial technique of extracting petroleum, natural gas and other substances from rock layers beneath the earth, has proved very controversial and merited careful study.
Questions have arisen over the environmental impacts of the process, including risks to water supplies, air quality and the ground surface where spills can occur. The state has studied this for four years.
The benefits of the technology are significant, creating new opportunities to produce energy for commercial and private use. Hydrofracking is playing an important role in Americas quest to develop energy resources and become less dependent on oil imports.
The states decision to conduct further studies for an unspecified time period will restart the regulatory process and postpone a decision into next year at the earliest. Meanwhile, other states are forging ahead with the new technology, providing well-paying jobs and helping to solve Americas energy problems.
Will New York be a frack-free island, leaving the production of natural gas to others?
By calling for another review of fracking, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appears to be siding with those who would make New York off-limits to the practice. That would be an unfortunate loss of economic opportunity.
Everyone appreciates the current low price of natural gas. Someone has to produce it. New York needs to be part of the quest.