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Fracking ban draws predictable reaction


New York's newly official ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing drew a predictable response: Fracking critics love it and supporters hate it.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a 43-page "findings statement" Monday afternoon, citing uncertainties about the fracking process while giving a statewide ban the force of law.

The move was lauded by critics of fracking, including New Yorkers Against Fracking, Frack Action and the Sierra Club, which presented Cuomo’s office Monday with a 15-foot scroll filled with thank-you notes scribbled by hundreds of well-wishers.

The American Petroleum Institute’s New York chapter, meanwhile, accused Cuomo of blocking an economic boost for the long-struggling Southern Tier.

The group pointed to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study that found no “widespread, systematic” impacts on water supplies from fracking operations. API is a major gas-industry trade association.

The ban will now be closely scrutinized by attorneys for the gas industry, including those at API, which hasn't ruled out taking legal action to try and overturn it.

“The governor’s constrained path maintains the status quo on economic development – costing the Empire State,” API New York executive director Karen Moreau said in a statement.

Actor Mark Ruffalo, an outspoken fracking critic who participated in several anti-fracking protests at the Capitol in recent years, said he’s “proud and thankful to be a New Yorker.” The “Avengers” star lives in Sullivan County.

“Governor Cuomo has set a precedent for the nation by carefully considering the science, which shows a range of public health and environmental harms, and doing what's best for the people, not the special interests of Big Oil and Gas,” Ruffalo, a board member for Americans Against Fracking, said in a statement.

Walter Hang, owner of Ithaca-based database firm Toxics Targeting and an organizer of fracking critics, called the ban the "most important American environmental victory in a generation."

"This tremendous achievement is a model of grassroots environmental action that should now be replicated from coast to coast wherever shale fracking is underway or proposed, Hang said in a statement.