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Local News

March 8, 2013

Seward: Frack moratorium unnecessary

State Sen. James Seward said Thursday he will not vote for a bill that would formalize and extend the state’s moratorium on hydrofracturing until 2015 if such a bill comes to a vote in the Senate.

“We have a de facto moratorium in place,” the Milford Republican said Thursday, a day after the Assembly passed a bill that would impose moratorium until 2015. “There are no permits being issued.

“As long as the (Department of Environmental Conservation) and the Department of Health are going through their process, I just think the legislation is not necessary, and I would not favor any legislation of this type, particularly until the DEP and the Department of Health finish their studies and their process.”

The Assembly voted, 95-40, Wednesday to impose the two-year extension of the moratorium.

But Seward said it was too soon for the state legislature to take any action.

“Appropriately, the New York state government is taking a very cautious approach,” he said. “And DEC, for over four years now, has been going through a very exhaustive process to determine whether or not this can be done safely without ill health effects and other negative impacts on our economy.

“It’s up to them, the experts at DEC, to determine if it can be done safely and also for them to approve … regulations to show us how it could be done.”

He put no stock in the argument that extending the moratorium would give the agencies more time to consider the issue.

“They’ve been at it since 2008, and the governor has shown no inclination to rush them,” he said. “In fact, he just gave them more time, even though there was a deadline at the end of February. So, when everybody expected this to come to some conclusion, he has given them an indefinite amount of time. I don’t see this being rushed at all.”

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