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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bans Fracking In New York Over Health Concerns

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration prohibited fracking in New York Wednesday citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

There was praise, not protest, outside the governor's office on the East Side, following Cuomo's announcement banning fracking in New York State, CBS2's Steve Langford reported.

Cuomo's ruling against fracking delighted environmentalists who've opposed the natural gas extraction technique that uses water, sand and chemicals to blast gas deposits from deep underground, Langford reported.

"This has been probably the most emotionally charged issue that I've ever experienced," Cuomo said Wednesday.

New York Will Move To Prohibit Fracking

"He has to be brave and take the chance to ask the questions that are difficult," said actress Susan Sarandon.

The politics behind the just-declared ban, a long and high-profile campaign to pressure the governor to stop fracking for good, based on claims fracking can contaminate water supplies and air quality.

Head of the advocacy group Food and Water Watch, Alex Beauchamp, said the ban is a step in the right direction.

"It protects our health and safety here in New York, but I think it sets an important precedence for the rest of the country as well," he told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman.

People at the rally outside Cuomo's office echoed the sentiment.

New York Will Move To Prohibit Fracking

"Cuomo protected the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers by taking this important step," one man at the rally told 1010 WINS' Holli Haerr.

"It's dangerous to our water supply and New York City, the Catskills – it's all such a fragile place, and I'm just pleased that it's not going to happen," a woman added.

But there are those who are outraged by the governor's decision, citing a lost opportunity to boost the economy and help reduce dependence on foreign oil.

New York State Petroleum Council's Karen Moreau said it's all about politics.

"There's true hardship and suffering in upstate New York. This governor had a chance to do something about it. He turned his back on those families," Moreau said. "It is a tragedy for the farmers in the southern tier of New York who have wells beneath them and can't touch."

Cuomo posted a series of tweets on fracking Wednesday.

States like Pennsylvania currently allow fracking, and while New York State had put a hold on fracking for several years, the outright ban by Cuomo puts an end to the debate, at least for now.

New York has had a ban on shale gas development since the environmental review began in 2008.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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