Reports: Draft state document said fracking could be done safely

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In a draft analysis prepared early last year, the state Health Department said it believed fracking could be done safely in New York, say reports from a couple of statehouse media organizations.

The department also said in the draft that fracking can, as the New York Times puts it, "be done safely within the regulatory system that the state has been developing for several years."

Gannett's Albany bureau reported that the draft said that the state's proposed fracking requirements "would likely prevent or reduce the risk to human health."

A state Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson played down the analysis. She told both news organizations that the draft was out of date. The DEC is still conducting an environmental review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, as well as a health impacts analysis.

But neither article brings up the issue of DEC staffing. Environmental groups say the DEC division that would review drilling permits and inspect wells doesn't have sufficient manpower to do a thorough job. In its draft environmental review documents, the DEC also admits that staffing is an issue.

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