The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
NY Assembly Passes Two Year Fracking Moratorium, Senate Expected to Follow
By Steve Horn
In a roll call vote of 95-40, the New York State Assembly has passed a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the toxic horizontal drilling process through which oil and gas is procured that's found within shale rock basins across the country and the world.
The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed off by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would close the state's doors to the oil and gas industry's desire to begin operating in New York's portion of the Marcellus Shale basin until May 2015. New York has had a moratorium on the books since 2008.
This is the third time the Assembly has passed such a bill, with similar moratorium bills passing in 2010 and 2011, but then dying a slow death in the Senate and never reaching the Governor's desk, meaning the de facto moratorium has remained in place.
Could the third time be a charm in 2013 in the Empire State?
Signs point to "quite possibly," because the bipartisan Independent Democratic Conference bloc of the Senate—which shares control of the Senate with the Republicans—has come out in support of the bill's passage, according to the Associates Press (AP).
"We have to put science first. We have to put the health of New Yorkers first," Sen. David Carlucci (D-38) and an IDC member told the AP.
Activists see it as a temporary reprieve and a victory for now. Alex Beauchamp of Food & Water Watch told the Albany Times-Union:
Hundreds of New York health professionals agree with the State Assembly that we should not move forward without a full, comprehensive examination of the health impacts of fracking ... Moving forward would simply enrich oil and gas companies that want to ship their gas overseas and their profits to Texas at the expense of New York’s public health and environment.
The oil and gas industry, unsurprisingly, is up in arms. New York Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau told the Times-Union:
Today’s vote by the State Assembly to further delay natural gas development is tantamount to telling the people of the Southern Tier to ‘Drop Dead.’ Once again, Albany politicians are putting politics before science, and the special interests before the people. The people of New York deserve better, to say the least
Given New York's ability to fend off the industry's desires to enter the state for going on five years, all eyes in the fracking stratosphere will be on the Senate and Cuomo —a potential 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate—in the coming days and weeks.
Watch this video of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver discuss the passage of the bill via timesunion.com:
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David B. Goldstein
Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of any country's plan to fight the climate crisis. It is the cheapest option available, and one that as often as not comes along with other benefits, such as job creation, comfort and compatibility with other key solutions such as renewable energy. This has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for at least a decade.
By Andrea Germanos
Over 500 groups on Monday rolled out an an action plan for the next president's first days of office to address the climate emergency and set the nation on a transformative path towards zero emissions and a just transition in their first days in office.
By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.