Business Groups Line Up Against Hydrofracking Moratorium

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Business groups are pushing back agains the state Legislature’s approval of a temporary suspension on hydraulic fracturing in New York and are urging Gov. David Paterson to veto the legislation.

Paterson has not said if he would sign the bill.

“This bill misses its intended mark by putting a stop to all safe oil and gas drilling that’s currently allowed in New York,” said Brian Sampson, the executive director of Unshackle Upstate, a pro-business Rochester-based group. “This unnecessary legislation could force New York’s oil and gas producers to pack up and leave New York – taking good-paying jobs and tax revenues with them. At a time when our state and its taxpayers are struggling to stay afloat, it makes absolutely no sense to enact legislation that eliminates jobs.”

The Assembly passed the moratorium late Monday night, 93-43 after nearly two hours of debate. The Senate previously approved the ban in August.

The bill bans hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, a controversial drilling process that involves using a mixture of water and chemicals. The ban comes as energy companies seek to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation of the Southern Tier.

Though environmentalists say the process is unsafe and potentially hazardous to local water quality,  opponents of a moratorium say the bill is an overreach by the Assembly and Senate.

“A comprehensive set of existing industry best practices and state regulations have proven effective in the safe use of the hydraulic fracturing process for more than 60 years and in over a million wells,” said John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute. “Every aspect of exploration and production is guided by a straightforward written framework for sound operations.”

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