New York has formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas after a seven-year environmental and health review.

New York has formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas after a seven-year environmental and health review.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced the decision Monday, saying a ban was the "only reasonable alternative" after "years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts."

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in a statement released by the agency. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC's mission to conserve, improve and protect our state's natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state."

The DEC’s Findings Statement concludes that there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and address risks to public health from this activity.

DEC based the Findings Statement on research in the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FSGEIS) released last month. The FSGEIS included consideration of extensive public comment and the state Department of Health's Public Health Review, which concluded there is considerable uncertainty as to potential health impacts from HVHF and that HVHF should not move forward in New York State.

New York is the only state with significant natural gas resources to ban fracking, which has allowed other states to tap huge volumes of gas trapped in shale formations deep underground.

While environmental groups praised the ban, drilling proponents have said the decision was based on politics rather than science.