Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who could be squaring off with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is stuck between shale and a hard place on the question of whether to allow fracking in the state.
According to a recent poll by the Siena Research Institute, 42 percent of voters support allowing hydrofracking to move forward in New York and 36 percent oppose it. A majority of downstate suburban voters and a solid plurality of New York City voters support fracking, but upstate voters, by a small 45 to 39 percent margin, oppose fracking.
Obviously, Cuomo is going to be in trouble with about half the state’s people regardless of how the state Department of Environmental Conservation rules on fracking.
And that decision could be handed down by the end of February now that the DEC has extended by three months its Nov. 29 deadline to complete its regulatory review. It also opened up the public comment process on recent revisions for another 30 days, from Wednesday until Jan. 11.
The DEC is under fire for the revisions, by drillers because there are new, stricter regulations on drilling, and by fracking opponents because the changes were made before a major environmental review and a health-impact study were completed.
Some drilling firms, in financial trouble because of the state’s moratorium on fracking, say they do expect the DEC to OK the controversial process in the first quarter of next year.
But that action by the state would be a major mistake. Regardless of regulations, there is no guaranteed safe way to drill by fracking, and, besides, we should not regress to more drilling for fossil fuels at a time we need to move to alternative energy sources.
U.S. doesn’t do it in Doha
The United Nations climate change conference concluded Saturday in Doha with the United States yet again refusing to go along with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that addressed greenhouse gas emissions.