September 10, 2012

No Plans for Fracking Decision, Cuomo Says

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As election season rapidly approaches, Washington, D.C. isn’t the only capital in the nation paralyzed by partisan divide. On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said that there are no immediate plans for a decision on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York State, adding that he expects lawsuits from groups on both sides of the issue no matter what the decision.

With the state Department of Environmental Conservation set to issue its decision on whether the practice — which involves injecting water and chemicals at high velocity into the ground to extract natural gas — is environmentally hazardous, Cuomo told an Albany radio station in an interview Monday that he wasn’t going to pressure the agency to release its findings by a specific date.

“When it’s done, and when they’re prepared — that’s when we’ll announce the decision,” Cuomo said, according to the Ithaca Journal.

No matter the result, the decision is sure to be controversial. Cuomo said he expects lawsuits from both pro- and anti-”fracking” groups. The New York Post, citing legal experts, said lawsuits from environmental groups could delay fracking for years.

“I promise you, there will be lawsuits, whatever the decision is,” Cuomo said in the interview. “So the day right after the decision, there will be another press conference that says, now we’re going to step two, which is a series of legal challenges and political challenges, and we’re going to try to get federal legislation and state legislation.”

Fracking has been an especially contentious issue in the Southern Tier. In November, the City of Ithaca banned the practice on municipal land. According to the Ithaca Journal, Cuomo may seek to open limited areas in the Southern Tier to fracking, but the governor has denied making a final decision.

“It’s going to be an ongoing situation for a long, long time,” Cuomo said.

Original Author: David Marten