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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo marks Earth Day by touting accomplishments but ignoring fracking

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As pressure mounts from both sides of the debate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a new strategy for dealing with the pressing question of whether he’ll approve fracking in his state: ignore the issue altogether.

In a lengthy press release celebrating Monday’s 43rd Earth Day, Mr. Cuomo, a first-term Democrat rumored to have his eyes on the White House, gives himself a pat on the back for his many “environmental accomplishments.” He cites serious initiatives such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions limits, the establishment of a “green bank” to fund renewable energy projects and a pledge to install 3,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the state in the next five years.

Mr. Cuomo also touts programs that likely didn’t make headlines: his signing of the Sewage Right to Know Law and the creation of New York’s I Love My Park Day.

But there is no mention of perhaps the most important energy and environmental question facing the governor: Will he green-light fracking in parts of upstate New York, or cave to unprecedented pressure from environmentalists and celebrities?

After delaying a decision for years, Mr. Cuomo’s Earth Day declaration did little to shed light on the situation.

“My administration has worked to implement policies that protect our environment and preserve the natural beauty of our state,” he said in his statement, citing the need to combat climate change but making no mention of fracking.

It’s unclear when he’ll make a decision, and political observers say Mr. Cuomo has backed himself into an impossible corner by waiting this long.

Rejecting fracking will undercut his plan to create jobs, encourage economic growth and make New York a friendlier place to do business.

Approving it will anger liberals and shatter support in the environmental movement for his potential presidential candidacy.

As the governor delays, the state Legislature has extended New York’s temporary moratorium on fracking. Mr. Cuomo is afraid that if he approves the practice, state lawmakers will pass anti-fracking legislation capable of overriding his veto, the New York Post reported Monday.

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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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