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Nearly two-thirds of respondents to this week's RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo's continued delay of a decision on allowing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York.
The same share-65 percent-says the state should allow hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches into southern and central New York. By some estimates, it is the second-largest natural gas find in the world and contains roughly 500 times the natural gas now used in New York each year.
Cuomo said last week that he has no deadline for making a decision. His statement came after reporters asked Cuomo and state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah M.D. about the decision, which has been awaited for more than a year. Shah said his review is ongoing, reflecting the "evolving" science related to fracking and health concerns. Cuomo said "the decision on fracking is a major decision on potential health consequences, danger, risk versus economic benefit. ... Sometimes it's more important to be right than fast."
Pro-fracking groups have long criticized the delay, saying that roughly five years of study by state health and environmental officials is sufficient and that New York is being harmed economically. They maintain that fracking to extract gas deeper than 2,000 feet is safe. Anti-fracking groups, which have applauded the delay, argue that fracking poses a high risk of contaminating watersheds.
When the same question was asked in December 2012, 60 percent of respondents said New York should allow hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.
Nearly 540 readers participated in this week's poll, which was conducted Dec. 23.
Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo right to continue to delay a decision on use of hydraulic fracturing in New York?
In your view, should New York allow use of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale?
Data has been collected, and there is enough information to make an informed decision. We do have the technology and capability to purify frack water. The appearance now is that the governor is delaying the decision for political and not technical reasons. The losers are the citizens of the state of New York.
With Cuomo, nothing is on the merits; it’s all politics. Fracking is being done all over the world, including the U.S., without any harm to the environment. Cuomo delayed a decision because the radical environmentalists would protest, something he fears out of his party’s base. The fact that thousands of Southern Tier workers are out of work, and that fracking would provide huge economic development and jobs, apparently means nothing to him because he figures he wouldn’t get their votes anyhow.
The polls show approximately 40 percent in favor of fracking. If he makes a decision before his election campaign, way too many votes are at stake. A wise decision on his part, however, another example of “kick the can” with no decision until it favors him. No regard for what’s right or wrong.
—Ed Rosen, Fairport
The freshwater of the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario is a precious resource, becoming more scarce on our globe. Our New York vineyards are getting international recognition and tourism is growing—fracking will harm both. Fracking provides short-term gain with long-term—in some cases irreparable—harm.
—Art Maurer, Penfield
Why is “fixing” the state so hard? This should be a no-brainer. More jobs, more revenue, more usable energy for the state.
The “science” of hydraulic fracturing is pretty well known at this point. The governor’s delays and Shah’s commentary are both purely political.
—Jeff Hoffman, US Airports
I favor fracking only if those engaging in the practice agree to full indemnification to be evidenced by filing a performance bond or comparable surety. This will separate the wheat from the chaff.
—Nathan J. Robfogel
If you talk with property owners in northern Pennsylvania, they’ll confirm that fracking has contaminated their wells. I’m just not convinced that fracking is safe, so let’s err on the side of safety. No fracking in New York!
—Melodye Campbell, Keuka College librarian
The only reason to delay a decision about fracking is to avoid the political fallout, no matter what decision he makes. The research is completed by the DEC, and the governor’s office is sitting on it. He should make his decision, deal with the fallout and move on with the issue. Delaying a decision does not work well for New York State’s fragile economy.
—Michael Lebowitz, real estate broker
The media in Rochester and around the world keeps framing the fracking issue incorrectly. The issue the media should be reporting on is how we can get energy to fuel our way of life as climate change continues to radically change our environment. Long before fracking should have been considered as an energy option, all other renewable energy, their infrastructures, energy conservation and energy efficiency should have had a chance to be ruled out—making a serious attempt to make our way of life sustainable. The media has allowed the fossil fuel industry to hijack our decision options in a time of warming, and so here we are in New York State polling about fracking and ignoring the elephant in the room.
—Frank J. Regan, RochesterEnvironment.com
Cuomo is wasting money continually studying and funding high-paid state officials to waste money on a project (when) their skills could be better applied to other problems—or maybe we do not need these folks on the state payroll any longer. Novel idea?
Over a decade of evidence from hundreds of fracking sites across the country shows it is safe. The EPA says it can be done safely. Even our president (amazingly) supports it. But Gov. Cuomo continues his unabated delay. In the meantime, the New York economy continues to be unhealthy. School populations decline as our younger people leave the state for better opportunities. And yet the elites continue to bad-mouth an opportunity to get our economic act in order. New York never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
How could he pass the SAFE Act in a few secretive hours and further ruin our state while he won’t allow fracking, which has caused no problems statewide?
—Daniel Mossien, architect
Upstate New York needs an economic boost, and this would provide it. Gov. Cuomo will never make a decision that will harm his voting base, therefore he will not make a decision on this because he will lose votes either way. No one should expect a decision from him because it won’t help him. It’s always about him and his political career, period.
Fracking works safely elsewhere. Taxes and utilities are too high in New York. Real unemployment is too high in N.Y. Cuomo’s political sensitivity is misguided—his real power and statesmanship is too low.
I admire the governor’s decision to “get it right,” and not crumbling to the special interests. However, he has had ample time to make a decision, and should get off the fence and make a decision, one way or another!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield
Cuomo says he wants to delay the decision to be able to study the impact it may have in all areas. He wants to gather as much information as possible and receive input from everyone that will be affected. One has to wonder what his thought process was for the SAFE Act.
He’s only right if the extra time results in approval. There are more than 1 million fracking wells in the U.S. Jobs are being created in North Dakota, Texas and nearby Pennsylvania. Why not here?
—John Calia, Vistage International
Gov. Cuomo is a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing. He claims he has cut taxes, created jobs with his economic development programs, reduced public employee benefit/pension packages, made his office transparent, made New York a business-friendly state, etc. The reality is at best he has only scratched the surface on these issues and has ignored the real solutions. In fact, a few years ago he supported an almost $2 billion income tax hike on high-income earners who are the real catalysts for job growth in the state. After that, he supported a huge utility tax increase. In the dark of night he helped ram through the SAFE Act, manipulated the “so-called non-partisan” Moreland Commission, etc. The governor appears to be another left-wing ideologue who is being influenced by extreme radical left-wing anti-fracking groups dressed up as environmentalists who are part of his base, along with his propagandists in the media. Even President Obama and the EPA have endorsed fracking as being safe.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.
Gov. Cuomo is much more concerned about his own political future than he is for the people of New York. He knows our state badly needs the good jobs and the low-cost energy that would come. But just like his NY SAFE Act, he caters to the New York City elites, to everyone else’s detriment!
—George Thomas, Ogden
We need to delay fracking until industry develops a means to extract the natural gas without introducing toxic chemicals underground and is willing to pay the full cost of infrastructure support. Additionally, with the glut of natural gas in North America, to the point where the U.S. is exporting it, we are sacrificing long-term energy security for short-term financial gain. New York is smart to wait until the process gets cleaner and the price of natural gas is higher.
Politics. All politics. By delaying, he satisfies his liberal and environmental base as he considers a run for president. No decision is best for him politically, bad for New York growth.
—Bruce Anderson, Alpha & Omega Parable Christian Stores
This is the single greatest business opportunity in New York State.
This is a vivid example wherein the “correct” decision and the “politically correct” decision are exact opposites.
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.
The only reason the governor wanted cheap natural gas from New York is to shut down the state’s nuclear plants, especially Indian Point near his home, and use “domestic” natural gas. He probably also wanted tax revenue from the sale of the gas. Since he is a creature of downstate, he didn’t anticipate the negative reaction from people upstate or the glut of gas from out west. I don’t have any issue with fracking, as long as it’s properly monitored and regulated and drillers and operators are held accountable for any environmental damage they cause. Certainly with proper oversight, moving away from coal and oil power generation is a good thing. As long as the Marcellus Shale is utilized in a safe and responsible manner, there is no reason it can’t be utilized.
Allowing hydraulic fracturing in New York State would very likely create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. What is the governor waiting for?
—Doug Lyon, Lyon Capital Management
12/27/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.