Elected officials in New York State, which banned fracking in December, have written to councillors in Lancashire to urge them to refuse planning permission for Cuadrilla’s two fracking applications.

The state banned fracking after its Department of Public Health completed a two year study which concluded that fracking poses significant public health risks and should be banned.

Elected Officials to Protect New York, a network of more than 850 elected officials from across New York State, wrote a letter to the Lancashire councillors asking them to note the conclusions of the New York State health and environmental studies and ensure that the council doesn’t expose its residents to the same health risks.

Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislator, from Elected Officials to Protect New York, said:

“We have written to Lancashire’s councillors as fellow elected representatives to urge them to heed the significant and growing evidence of problems and harms with fracking and to turn down Cuadrilla’s planning applications.

“After studying the public health impacts of fracking for years, New York State Health Commissioner Dr Zucker was clear that he would not let his family live in a community with fracking.

“As elected officials, we share with Lancashire councillors a responsibility to protect our constituents, so we have written to show that it is possible to stand up to this dirty and dangerous industry and ensure residents’ safety.”

Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee will decide on Cuadrilla’s fracking applications next week. The Committee previously met in January but after the Council’s planning officer recommended that both applications were rejected, Cuadrilla asked the Committee to defer their decisions so that the firm could submit further information about the applications. Over 90,000 people have called on the council to refuse the applications.

The letter notes that like Lancashire County Council members, elected officials in New York “have listened to countless hours of testimony by local residents against fracking, as well as doing our own research into the science, community impacts, and threats this industry poses”. Due to these efforts, elected officials in 180 municipalities across the state banned fracking in their local communities prior to New York’s state-wide ban. New York State has since been followed by Wales and Scotland, both of which have announced their intentions to impose moratoriums on fracking, as well as the State of Maryland.

Friends of the Earth North West campaigner Furqan Naeem said:

“Fracking has already been halted in Scotland and Wales because of serious risks to the environment and health, and its impact on climate change.

Councillors in Lancashire must heed the warnings from their equivalents in New York State and make sure that Lancashire does not become the UK’s fracking guinea pig.

“Fracking is dirty, dangerous, unpopular and completely unnecessary. A better solution would be renewable power and energy efficiency which would improve energy security, boost the local economy and help tackle climate change at the same time.”

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