The recent Albany Times-Union editorial, “Up to you on drilling, Governor,” got it all wrong regarding the Assembly’s passage of the hydrofrcking moratorium. This bill is overbroad and will unnecessarily halt gas exploration in Western NY and other areas outside the Marcellus Shale. To arbitrarily suspend all drilling statewide without any evidence of danger to our water supply is not in the best interest of our economy. There is a de facto moratorium on natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale because funding for 29 additional DEC inspectors was not included in the FY 2010-2011 state budget. Without the added inspectors, no new permits can be issued for expanded natural gas exploration in the Southern Tier, which makes this legislation redundant. In addition, recent budget cuts have decimated DEC and will slow the permitting process for new and existing wells.
Within days of the vote, I received an email from Mr. John Holko, President of Lenape Resources, Inc. (Alexander, NY), who informed me that the blanket moratorium on natural gas exploration will force his company to close. Mr. Holko employs New York residents who pay taxes and support their local economy. Instead of enacting job-killing legislative impediments, we should allow the DEC to continue to revise regulations for exploration in the Marcellus Shale area. Once the DEC’s review is released, we will have a greater understanding of the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the quality of the local water supply and impact on the surrounding environment. Until then, I recommend that we avoid a rash and unnecessary moratorium that will undoubtedly impact important economic activity. Instead, we should protect our future by becoming less dependent on foreign sources of energy, while continuing to develop alternative energy sources in America. And New York can be a leader in the safe extraction of natural gas.
For the aforementioned reasons, I strongly urge Governor Paterson to veto A.11433-B/S.8129-B. [polldaddy poll=4196344]