New York and California recently conducted environmental analyses of hydraulic fracturing and other well-stimulation activities to inform potential regulations of these operations.
Both outlined the exact same potential impacts to air, water, seismic activity, communities, and human health. Both recognized the lack of certainty as to the likelihood of those impacts actually occurring. Yet, despite the similarities in their findings, the two states ultimately adopted very different approaches to regulating fracking: New York has chosen a restrictive approach, banning the practice within its boundaries, while California has chosen a pragmatic approach that allows fracking, subject to certain restrictions. Comparison of New York's and California's approach offers a revealing example of how the regulation of fracking is guided not solely by science and data, but also by economic and political realities.