New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a ban on fracking, citing health risks. "I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York," announced Howard Zucker, New York's acting health commissioner, on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
Though the extent of harm to wildlife is unclear, there's no question that fracking has the potential to damage the ecosystem. The chemicals used to remove natural gas from shale deposits are corrosive, and when introduced into the environment - as what happened when frackers in Kentucky illegally discharged an acid mixture into a stream in 2009 - the results can be devastating. The conservation group Center For Biological Diversity warns that fracking puts fish, birds and other animals in danger from contamination.
Fracking in New York is focused on extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale deposits, resources that lie a mile below the surface and cover about 18,750 square miles across the south and west portion of the state. This area is home to a variety of rare and threatened species, including bald eagles, timber rattlesnakes and the hellbender salamander.