The health study was extended on the same day that a coalition of groups opposed to fracking put pressure on Cuomo by running an advertisement in a leading newspaper in Iowa, the Des Moines Register. Iowa holds the nation’s first presidential caucus every four years, and the sponsors of the ad said they wanted to put Cuomo on notice that he faces major political risks if he approves fracking in New York.
“Gov. Cuomo, America is looking to you,” stated the ad, which concluded: “Your choice now will be remembered forever.”
Alan Chartock, a veteran Albany political observer and the chief executive officer of public radio station WAMC, said the ad was an effective way to remind Cuomo that any presidential ambitions he may hold could face consequences if he sides with the gas industry.
Further, he said, while Cuomo has denied he covets the presidency, the environmental groups, by taking the message to Iowa, were effectively responding “we don’t believe you.”
“I don’t think he knows what to do here,” Chartock observed. “He is in a vice between two competing sides. The last thing he will want to do is to alienate all these folks on the left because he needs them. They are his core constituency.”
State University at Oneonta political science professor Gina Keel said Cuomo, by repeatedly stating that science will determine whether his administration will issue shale gas permits, “has been playing it pretty cool on the fracking controversy.
“He’s been insulating himself from the politics of it, to some degree,” she said.
Among the scores of organizations listed in the Iowa ad were many local groups, including Otsego 2000, Advocates for Cherry Valley, Advocates for Morris, Middlefield Neighbors, Milford Doers/Residents of Crumhorn, Concerned Worcester Citizens, Friends of Sustainable Sidney, Friends of Butternuts, and Protect Laurens.