In a "better late than never" approach, it appears that NY state regulators are now considering a health study as part of the environmental review on fracking. According to NY Times blogger Mireya Navarro, environmental groups met with "top officials" from NYS Dept. of Health and Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). They discussed possible impacts such as air pollution (from drilling rigs, compressors, traffic), potential water contamination (spills and accidents) and the higher number of accidents given increased traffic drilling brings.
However, the state might simply decide to monitor health impacts once fracking gets underway - a far cry from the health impact study that Assembly members and the public have called for since the beginning of the environmental review. Other states have already documented increased asthma rates and higher incidences of cardiovascular events. And two Pennsylvania healthcare systems, Guthrie and Geissinger, announced last month that they're teaming up to study the health impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling.
New Yorkers don't need a study that shows what happens when drilling occurs; we just have to look over the border to see that. Emergency services directors in Bradford and other PA counties have spoken numerous times about the increase in traffic accidents, delayed response times, emergency evacuations and other impacts.
What we really need is a health impact study prior to drilling, something that would inform how - and whether - fracking happens.