New York Gov. Cuomo moves to ban fracking

New York officials on Wednesday moved forward with an effort to ban fracking across the state, citing excessive environmental and health concerns.

The move came during a Cabinet-level meeting in Albany, the state capital, in which Gov. Andrew Cuomo's environmental commissioner, Joe Martens, recommended a ban.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said he will defer to Martens and acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in making a final decision.

A ban would end the state's current six-month moratorium on fracking.

The process of fracking involves shooting a mix of pressurized water, sand and chemicals to split rock formations to release natural gas and so-called tight oil.

The widely used, deep-drilling process has resulted in a surge in domestic-energy production and has created millions of new jobs.

However, state and local governments are pushing for bans over the health and environmental concerns, including the potential for earthquakes and the contamination of natural water supplies.

New York sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, which stretches 600 miles along the Appalachian Basin and is rich in natural gas deposits.

Fracking supporters immediately expressed opposition to the state’s plan.

“Today’s action by Governor Cuomo shows that New York families, teachers, roads and good-paying jobs have lost out to political gamesmanship,” said Karen Moreau, of the New York Petroleum Council, an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents some of the world's biggest energy companies.

Martens said the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will put out a final impact study early next year that will suggest a ban on fracking, more formally known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Martens said he would follow the report with an order prohibiting the process.

Zucker said he came to the decision that he didn’t want the state to proceed with fracking when he realized that he wouldn’t want his family to live near an extraction site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.