State Senate Democrats remain strongly opposed to a natural gas extraction process known as hydrofracking and they are now raising concerns that the Cuomo administration is being too cozy with the energy industry before potentially issuing permits. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
The Cuomo administration has been weighing whether or not to allow the controversial gas extraction method known as hydrofracking in New York State.
Supporters want the economic benefits, but opponents say it could pollute water supplies.
Now, Democrats are accusing the Cuomo administration of consulting the industry before certain regulations were made public last September.
“The environmental groups found out that proposed regulations were given to the oil and natural gas companies prior to being given to the public. That's an absolute disgrace," said State Senator Tony Avella.
Democratic senators sent a letter to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation asking for an explanation of what exactly was shared with the industry before being made public.
"I don't believe they should be given advance notice, they should given information that wasn't given to the rest of the public or that they should have the ability to comment and potentially change those draft regulations," said State Senator Liz Krueger.
The DEC referred NY1 to a letter they wrote last week which says in part, "DEC provided industry with a summary, not the text, of the draft regulations.... [T]hose regulations were not changed as a result of the exchanges DEC had with the industry prior to publication."
"The industry has not proved they can do this safely in New York State. We know that there is no a shortage of natural gas on the marketplace at this time. And we know that the gas will be down there, underneath the Marcellus shale, forever," said Krueger.
Local leaders say they believe the Cuomo administration will allow hydrofracking to go forward on a limited basis, but so far no permits have been issued.
Republicans, who have been largely supportive of hydrofracking argue that it will bring jobs. The counter-argument to that is that any jobs created would be temporary. The companies would come in, drill, extract their natural gas and then move on.
But towns that have been in favor of this say any economic impact, even a minimal one, would be welcome.