- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Gov. Cuomo on the spot as N.Y. considers fracking
With nearby states cashing in but environmentalists and Hollywood stars urging him to back off, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is running out of time to decide whether his state will join the natural-gas fracking boom.
Friday marked the end of a 30-day public comment period the state set up on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, during which stakeholders, proponents, opponents and ordinary New Yorkers were able to weigh in with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Mr. Cuomo, a first-term Democrat who’s rumored to be eyeing a 2016 presidential run, has faced intense pressure from both sides of the debate. His decision, which he has put off for nearly a year, carries serious political consequences.
Allowing fracking in New York will deeply anger environmentalists who have mobilized in large numbers on the left. Prohibiting it will mean the Cuomo administration has stopped the creation of potentially thousands of jobs in long-struggling parts of the state that desperately need them.
As Mr. Cuomo weighs his options, critics have mounted an unprecedented public relations campaign to keep the practice out of New York. The effort has been led by the growing “Artists Against Fracking” organization, founded by performance artist Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, Ms. Ono’s son with Beatle John Lennon.
The duo again visited the state capital in Albany on Friday, delivering boxes of anti-fracking comments to Mr. Cuomo’s office. Ms. Ono last week penned another column in which she urged the governor to reject fracking, which she characterized as disastrous to the environment of a state she loves.
“My husband, John Lennon, and I bought a beautiful farm in rural New York more than 30 years ago. Like the rest of our state, this peaceful farming community is threatened by fracking for gas,” she wrote in a piece that appeared in the Albany Times Union and elsewhere.
But Mr. Cuomo also appears to recognize the economic benefits that await upstate New York if fracking is allowed. Residents need only look south to Pennsylvania to see how struggling small towns can be revitalized by the practice, which uses water, sand and chemicals to break apart underground shale formations and release huge quantities of fuel.
The Marcellus Shale, one of the largest underground natural gas deposits in the world, underlies parts of upstate New York. Oil and gas companies are eager to tap into it.
During his State of the State speech last week, Mr. Cuomo conceded that upstate New York is in desperate need of help, a possible sign that he’s prepared to green-light the controversial technique.
He did not, however, directly address fracking during his lengthy address.
“We need an additional focus on upstate New York,” Mr. Cuomo said. “There have been decades of decline in upstate New York. When you look at the job growth in upstate New York, frankly, it is sad and troubling.”
The governor’s speech was followed by a lengthy hearing in the state Assembly on the proposed regulations, with opponents of fracking sharply questioning industry officials on whether fracking would be a net benefit for struggling New York communities.
While his administration has largely been mum on fracking, Mr. Cuomo is developing a strategic energy plan for his state. He recently lured away Richard L. Kauffman, a former adviser to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, to serve as New York’s new energy secretary. The move may indicate that Mr. Cuomo is prepared to take dramatic steps on energy policy.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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 email@example.com.
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- High court likely to allow Obama's clean-air rules
- Funding boost of $100M for mentally ill a 'small step'
- White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow