Assembly Passes Fracking Moratorium
3/6/2013 (Updated 3/7/2013 8:49:44 AM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced Wednesday his chamber passed a two-year moratorium on fracking. The measure would also require a health impact assessment to be completed by a SUNY school of public health to examine fracking's potential public health impacts.
"Natural gas locked within the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale isn't going anywhere. We're not going to lose it," said Silver.
"Ultimately this is going to be up to the Governor. He has expressed an interest in taking into consideration health effects of hydrofracking and we have been expressing a concern that this be looked at," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell), who voted for the moratorium.
The move drew immediate criticism from those who believe in the economic benefits of fracking.
"We have studied this issue four or five years. Another two years I don't think is going to bring about anything new. I think we're just delaying something that can really help our community," said Lou Santoni, President of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.
State Senator Tom Libous has long been a proponent of what he calls safe drilling. He's pledging to do what he can to keep the Assembly moratorium off the Senate floor.
"Any decision on fracking needs to be based on the science, not on what politicians feel is right or not right," said Libous.
"The legislature wants to impose a moratorium, again that's political science not real science," said Assemblyman Clifford Crouch (R-Guilford).
But the Senate is now ruled by a coalition of Republicans and independent Democrats. Those Democrats announced yesterday they support a two-year moratorium to accommodate a pair of ongoing independent health studies, including the Geisinger study in Pennsylvania.
"This Geisinger study, it is unbiased and it's actually going to look specifically at the health impacts which have been intentionally kept quiet," said Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action.
Libous says his battle to keep the Assembly moratorium off the Senate floor could last until June.
****In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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