First, the shortest summary of A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development is: We don’t know if it’s safe or not.New York did not commission a new study, just review all the others that have been done. Their conclusion is that those studies are not conclusive as to whether fracking would be a serious threat to New Yorkers or not. So, they say, let's wait and see.
New York did not find out about any scary toxins or nightmarish cancer scares:
Actually, the most serious risks of fracking turn out to be a lot more boring: traffic from trucks, “boomtown effects” of sudden economic development, and particulate matter—that’s dust, to you and me. These seem like the weakest links in the report—dust?!—but, in fact, they turn out to be the strongest. . . . The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health has reported that “the occupational fatality rate among oil and gas industry workers is seven times higher than the average rate for all US industries.” The main reason? Toxic dust—the same dust kicked up by fracking rigs.Plus fracking is guaranteed not to be a really long-term economic activity; unless gas gets very expensive most areas will be played out in twenty years, leaving a big mess behind.
And then there are the trucks. Each well requires 1,500—2,000 truck trips over the lifetime of the well. That is a lot of air pollution, noise, and yet more kicking up of dust. . . . Fracking, in this regard, is no different from gypsum mining, or some kinds of industrial agriculture. On the other hand, if you think about it, those basic industrial effects can be the most devastating. I admit, I chuckled when I read the phrase “boomtown effects” in the New York report. But they are serious: what large-scale fracking does is change small farm towns into industrial sites. Low-wage workers, crime, pollution, Wal-Marts—in fact, these “boring” effects of fracking are probably more serious than faucets on fire. The real risks of fracking aren’t photogenic, but they would represent a highly un-conservative remaking of the rural heartland into what one “fractivist” has called Gasland.