Republican U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long wants to see New York move forward with hydrofracking as a way to create new jobs and is accusing Gillibrand of interfering with the process. Mike Whittemore filed the following report for NY1.
With the end date for a hydrofracking decision pushed to 2013 or beyond, many environmentalists and natural gas industry advocates see Gov. Andrew Cuomo as stalling on the issue.
However, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long sees it a different way, a way to attack her opponent, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
"My opponent has done everything possible to kill jobs in this state and keep this economy in the mud," Long said.
Like many Republicans, Long sees the natural gas extraction process as a way to stimulate the upstate economy and bring thousands of jobs to struggling cities. However, in this case, she's aligning herself with two high-profile Democrats to make her case: President Barack Obama, who, in his convention speech, touted the potential of natural gas and Gov. Cuomo.
Long believes the governor wants to move forward with hydrofracking in New York but Sen. Gillibrand is obstructing his position.
"I think he’s in a lonely place and it's Kirsten Gillibrand and her allies who are making it a lonely place," Long said.
Gov. Cuomo has not publicly made his position known on whether he prefers to see high-volume hydrofracking move forward, repeatedly asking for patience as a thorough environmental impact study is conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation. That report was expected to be released by the end of the year but a health study component will push it back even further.
"I think legal challenges are likely and I think this will be a better review," the governor said. "Our lawyers say it will be a more defensible review in the event we are challenged."
A spokesperson for Sen. Gillibrand echoed Governor Cuomo's concerns for a thorough study, saying in a statement.
"I'm not going to comment on the baseless conspiracy theories of a struggling campaign," the statement read. "Before any drilling moves forward, she believes we must have strong controls and safeguards in place coupled with full transparency."