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Health officials now say fracking health review nearly done

One day after saying they could not speculate on when a key health review on hydrofracking in New York would commence, the state health department has now announced three university experts have been chosen and will review the data.

The state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, was tasked with hiring outside experts to review health impact data on fracking as the Cuomo administration continues to study whether the controversial drilling process will be permitted in New York.

With two weeks to go before a key deadline, the health department says three experts have been contracted to review the report.

They are John Adgate, with the Colorado School of Public Health; Lynn Goldman, dean of George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services; and Richard Jackson, chairman of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA.

If the health review is not completed by November 29, then the state’s environmental agency has to start a rule-making process all over again, possibly delaying  a decision on fracking for months.

A health department spokesman says Dr. Shah is nearing completion of his review.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.