Fracking Legislation To Take Center Stage?
As lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo get down to crunch time with the state budget this month, the controversial natural gas drilling process known as hydrofracking is gaining some attention this week.
IDC Sen. David Carlucci today announced that he was introducing legislation that would block hydrofracking for up to 24 months and until health assessments are performed.
It’s just one of several measures that are being pushed after the Cuomo administration’s missed several regulatory deadlines to complete an environmental impact statement and rules to govern the process.
The legislation Carlucci is backing is not all that different from what the administration is doing right now: Waiting for the Department of Health to complete its report on the impact of high-volume fracking on human health.
But Carlucci’s bill would give that process the strength of law, he said at a news conference today.
“We’re codifying those thoughts into actual lgislation,” Carlucci said. “We don’t want to wait until next year to find these reports haven’t been promegated.”
He was also hopeful that there would be some form of Republican support for the measure in a Senate GOP conference that’s split on whether to allow it.
“The idea behind this legislation is that it’s common sense,” he said. “It takes the emotion out of it.”
The proposal was quickly criticized by the natural gas industry’s Independent Oil and Gas Association.
“The proposed bill is a solution looking for a problem. The sole purpose of any environmental regulation is to protect the environment,” said IOGA spokesman James Smith. “That includes bodies of water, the aquifers, plants, animals and people. Characterizing the DEC’s five-year-long process as a ‘rush to judgment’ ignores the state’s ongoing comprehensive review, as well as the record of safety here and in other states.”
In the Democratic-led Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver indicated today that lawmakers will likely vote Wednesday on his two-year moratorium on allowig permits for hydrofracking. Though the chamber has passed moratoriums on hydrofracking in the past, this measure specifically outlines geographic areas where the process is banned: the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.
All this comes after the Associated Press reported that input from Cuomo’s ex-brother-in-law Robert Kennedy, Jr., had led the governor to reverse course on allowing up to 40 trial wells from being drilled.
Cuomo on Monday disputed that Kennedy, a prominent environmental advocate, held that much sway over his thinking on fracking or that the state was on the verge of issuing permits.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm, and is filed under Hydrofracking. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|