NY Gov. Cuomo Blasted by Energy Industry for Stalling on Fracking

Image: NY Gov. Cuomo Blasted by Energy Industry for Stalling on Fracking

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 09:58 AM

By Melanie Batley

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being criticized by a top energy-industry leader for deliberately holding up the approval of a permit for natural gas drilling in the state using flimsy claims about safety concerns.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard accuses the Democrat of hiding "for far too long" behind the "excuse" of conducting a health study on the safety of fracking for natural gas, noting that its safety has already been proven in roughly 30 states across the nation, The New York Post reports.

"I think it's shortsighted, I think it's unfortunate because it hurts his state. It hurts economic development in his state," Gerard told The Post.

"We need to go back to facts and reality," he said. "The director of the [Environmental Protection Agency] … the secretary of energy today, the secretary of the interior today, have all reaffirmed the fact that hydraulic fracturing can be done in a safe and effective way that protects the workforce and protects the environment."

Last February, a final report on the safety of fracking from New York's Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens was due to be released when at the last-minute the governor announced there would be a new health study. Though results were initially promised within weeks, a report has yet to be issued and the governor's office refuses to say when it will be delivered.

The API's spokesman, Reid Porter, also pointed out that New York's Department of Health has yet to ask for any information about drilling from the organization, which represents virtually all major gas and oil companies in the country and sets industry standards for the equipment used in the drilling, The Post notes.

Another gas industry source told The Post that the governor has repeatedly rejected offers of information on fracking from major companies, many of which are in line to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on gas exploration in the state.

For more than three years, Cuomo has refused to approve fracking in the Marcellus Shale region of the Southern Tier, despite President Barack Obama's support for the initiative and conclusions by state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens that it could be done safely.

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