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Obama to face heat on fracking on New York trip

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2013

President Obama plans to use his visit to upstate New York later this week to talk up his new initiative to make college more affordable.

But he's also stepping into the epicenter of the nationwide debate over fracking, the controversial drilling method loathed by environmentalists yet responsible for huge increases in American oil and natural gas production.

The grNew York oup Toxics Targeting — one of many anti-fracking organizations in the state — says it will protest the president's visit to Binghamton on Friday.

"We're going to be present in Binghamton by the hundreds if not the thousands," Walter Hang, a member of Toxics Targeting, told New York's WNYC News. On its Facebook page, the group Frack Action also is calling for demonstrations as Mr. Obama heads to Buffalo and Syracuse. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to delay a decision whether to allow fracking in his state, with a de facto moratorium on the practice dragging on for five years. He has come under intense pressure from both sides of the debate, including environmental groups such as those planning to protest Mr. Obama's visit.

On the other side, the oil and natural gas industry, joined by a large coalition of landowners, is pressuring Mr. Cuomo to approve fracking and reap the jobs and economic benefits that come along with it.

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