Hydraulic Fracturing Problem in New York

Hydraulic fracturing has been practiced for several years in New York. This dates back to the 19th century and is still an issue for the state officials. It denotes the practice of kindling shallow rigid rock oil wells. The practice seems to have influenced the extraction of other valuable resources like water and gas. Essentially, different chemical combinations were implemented. Currently, the practice poses health and environmental threats to the populace (Law, et al, 1993). Concerns about the pollution of ground water and perceived gas leaks have accelerated cancer infections. A major effect of these practices has been witnessed in the central New York and Pennsylvania states (New York Marine Sciences Consortium, 2011).

Numerous plans are being made for the generation of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, especially in support of the Marcellus Shale. The process involves the use of large amounts of water, which tend to influence the coastal environments (Ibid). The Marcellus Shale reportedly starts in proximity to the states of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the south regions of New York (Law, et al, 1993). This is an extensive populace. Using large quantities of water, chemicals, prop-ants, as well as drilling procedures, the regions face major environmental and health issues. Cases of gas and prop-ant leakages to the surrounding populace have been reported. This has affected the unprotected people who are unaware of the chemical components of silicon released in air  (New York Marine Sciences Consortium, 2011).

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has established a plan to ensure healthy people in the U.S. Healthy People 2020 has a ten-year aim that seeks to enhance health issues for the Americans. In relation to the Healthy People 2020, a number of issues have been identified concerning hydraulic fracturing (Fast, et al, 1997). Among its goals, the Healthy People Program has set objectives to ensure that it forms a social and physical environment, which would advance high-quality health for everyone (Healthy People 2020, 2010).

The New York State Prevention Agenda (2013-2017) focuses on the advancement of healthy and secure surroundings. The agenda has identified a number of areas that will ensure that it achieves its goal of enhancing a healthy and secure surrounding. Issues pertaining to water, air and the environment provide a major concern for this agenda. This is because they relate to the practice of hydraulic fracturing (Law, et al, 1993). Emission of gas and other components to the air from the chemicals used in this process has adverse effects on breathing and may lead to cardiovascular illnesses. It also seeks to ensure secure access to drinking water as well as water used for leisure activities like swimming. Additionally, in constructing a secure environment, these preventive measures will ensure that the residential surroundings are healthy (New York State Prevention Agenda, 2012).

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established regulatory procedures that help to manage the emission of toxic gases identified as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). This has led to improved air quality in New York thus minimizing the discharge of air pollutants. Consequently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has established measures that advocate for the fluoridation of drinking and water used in recreational activities (Law, et al, 1993). In protecting the health of the residents, the state of New York has recognized the importance of developing residential environments.

It was rather a remarkable work on the part of the administrators of the state of New York to consider the need to wait for the completion of the review of the potential public health effects of hydraulic fracturing before the process has actually been allowed to occur in the area. In several municipalities of New York, the passing of a law that completely pushes for the avoidance of hydraulic fracturing to occur within the said areas have been considered and rather recognized accordingly. The administrators of the said municipalities recognize the fact that apart from industrialization and centralization of water source, the safety of the people should be considered primarily apart from the desire of incurring further developments. The health department in New York along with the agencies specifically appointed to see through the situation and the water resources’ safety then considers the need to research on a safer process of managing the water resources of the state.


Healthy People 2020. (2010). Healthy people in healthy communities. Retrieved from

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New York Marine Sciences Consortium. (2011). An assessment of some of the environmental

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Law, Ben E. and Charles W. Spencer. (1993). “Gas in tight reservoirs-an emerging major source of energy,” in David G. Howell (ed.), The Future of Energy Gasses, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1570, p.233-252.

Fast, C.R., G.B. Holman, and R. J. Covlin. (1997). “The application of massive hydraulic fracturing to the tight Muddy ‘J’ Formation, Wattenberg Field, Colorado,” in Harry K. Veal, (ed.), Exploration Frontiers of the Central and Southern Rockies (Denver: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, 1997) 293-300.