- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
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 2014 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 to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Separation of church and Obama: Religious ties may run deep, but president's attendance has not
- Obamas paid $98K in taxes in 2013, White House says
- Obama calls principal of Pa. high school devastated by stabbings
- Democrats press Obama for Keystone pipeline decision
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- Josh Romney swipes Harry Reid with photo tweet of dad paying taxes 'your paycheck'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.