Tags: fracking | ban | new york | jobs | upstate

Upstate NY to Cuomo: We Need Fracking, 'We Need Work'

By    |   Friday, 09 January 2015 01:42 PM

To frack or not to frack, that is the question, and New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resounding "not" has not discouraged pro-fracking activists in the Empire State.

Anywhere from 200 to 600 people, depending on whom you ask, showed up in freezing weather at a rally at a Binghamton, N.Y., Holiday Inn this week to blast Cuomo's decision to ban fracking in upstate New York's Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale formations, at least until the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issues a final environmental impact statement, Watchdog.org reports.

While Cuomo's decision last month, based on a 184-page review from the New York Department of Health, pleased environmental activists, it didn't go over well with economically challenged upstate New Yorkers, who have pledged to keep up the fight to frack.

"These activists are stealing this state," Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, the group that organized the rally, told Press Connects. "If we don't stop them, landowners are going to lose everything."

Broome County resident and truck driver Steve Stoddard added, "We need work here. I’ve watched this area continually degrade until people call this Doom County, because everything that comes here dies."

Cuomo, after a five-year debate over fracking in New York, announced his decision to ban fracking on Dec. 17, but knew the decision would face opposition.

"There are going to be a ton of lawsuits, I’m sure, every which way from Sunday now. I’m sure the people who disagree with this will continue to disagree," Watchdog reported that Cuomo said.

Fitzsimmons, calling Cuomo a "dictator," told Watchdog, "I know someday there's going to be gas drilling in New York state. It’ll happen."

He pledged to seek federal intervention and is awaiting a formal statement of what the ban involves before making any decisions on taking legal action.

In his report, Dr. Howard Zucker, acting DOH commissioner, said, "I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks to public health, which as of yet are unanswered. I think it would be reckless to proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done.

"I asked myself, 'Would I let my family live in a community with fracking?' The answer is no."

Cuomo's decision won him praise from the Sierra Club, whose state president, Michael Brune, said, "All we need now is for New York to bring wind, solar and energy efficiency to full potential so we can leave dirty fuels in the ground and move quickly to clean-energy prosperity."

But Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, told Watchdog, "This is about politics and poorly supported fears."

"When you look at all the big studies, what you find is this is a safe practice. It needs to be regulated so that people don’t spill crap on the ground or have badly done wells. But it doesn’t seem to be any more threatening to the environment than the rest of the oil industry, which we’ve lived with for 150 years."

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To frack or not to frack, that is the question, and New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resounding "not" has not discouraged pro-fracking activists in the Empire State.
fracking, ban, new york, jobs, upstate
Friday, 09 January 2015 01:42 PM
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