Cuomo Delays NY Fracking Study Release Until After Election

Gov. Andrew Cuomo - New York 2014 - Photo: Getty ImagesNew York Post

Gov. Cuomo is promising to release the longest-awaited study of his administration — an analysis of the health impacts of fracking — but only after the election.

It’s one of several critical announcements on hold until after voters cast their ballots.

Cuomo disclosed during Wednesday night’s debate in Buffalo that the state Health Department, which has been studying the fracking issue for more than two years, will be releasing its findings by year’s end.

No one believes that will be before Election Day, Nov. 4.

“Our governor has decided to sit on his hands for his entire four-year term. The issue has become a political decision — not one based on science or facts,” fumed Scott Kurkoski, attorney for the Southern Tier Joint Landowners Association, which backs fracking in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region.

Cuomo announced the Health Department study in September 2012.

Drilling regulations were drafted earlier in 2012, but no action was taken after nearly 200,000 opponents of the drilling technique demanded it not proceed.

There have bene so many delays that both supporters and opponents are wary of any pledge that a decision is finally on the way.

“It’s very difficult to know what to believe,” Kurkoski said.

Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, supports fracking.

Opponents — known as fractivists — were not satisfied either.

“Gov. Cuomo should take a position before the election so people know where he stands. I would ban fracking,” declared Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins.

Other fractivists said Cuomo will have to take a stand eventually.

“New Yorkers throughout the state are passionately opposed to fracking because they don’t want their health and our state to be ruined by the toxic drilling,” said Isaac Silberman-Gorn of Citizen Action.

Cuomo has acknowledged that fracking — a deep gas-drilling technique that uses a mixture of chemicals and water to fracture rocks and capture the escaped gas — would boost jobs.

But he said the science is evolving, so he didn’t want to rush into a decision.

“Whatever the experts say is right, I will do,” Cuomo said Wednesday night.

Fracking is not the only tough-to-make decision awaiting Cuomo.

The administration has yet to say how high tolls will go to pay for construction of a new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge. The current cash toll is $5.

“We’ll figure out the toll when we know the costs. It will be affordable to commuters,” Cuomo has said.

 

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