Gillibrand attacked on jobs issue

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Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long attacked Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday for allegedly trying to kill hydraulic fracturing in New York.

Long made the accusation at a Syracuse press conference the same day a conservative super PAC began airing a television commercial in upstate cities that attacks Gillibrand for backing a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

That tax, which was a revenue measures in the 2010 health insurance law, was one of the reasons for the recent announcement that Welch Allyn of Skaneateles Falls will lay off 10 percent of its worldwide employees over three years.

The conservative super PAC Natural Horizon began running an ad in upstate cities Wednesday that’s part of a $500,000 media buy in support of Long.

Although state government will make the ultimate decision on how the natural gas industry will use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation that runs through the Southern Tier and parts of western New York, Long said members of Congress “have a great big megaphone’’ to prod action on this job-creating industry.

Long accused Gillibrand of taking both sides on the issue, telling upstate groups she supports drilling while also “giving voice to celebrity lobbyists and the Hollywood and Manhattan crowd who have all these phony environmental concerns that they claim are about public health.’’

Gillibrand does support hydraulic fracturing, according to campaign spokesman Glen Caplin, as long as the environmental concerns are addressed.

“If it can be done safely, then yes, we should move forward,’’ Caplin said. “She understands the economic potential.’’

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