Southern Tier Officials Say Hydrofracking Decision Needs to Come Soon


In this past weekend’s Gannett newspapers, we took a look at the debate over hydrofracking in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s difficulty in finding a middle ground.

While reaction to the state’s decision to delay a decision to allow or deny high-volume hydrofracking has been mixed, a pair of prominent elected officials in the Southern Tier signaled that they believe a decision has to be made soon — one way or the other.

From the article:

Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, said the state needs to make a decision before year’s end. If it lingers longer, the decision would get caught up in the state legislative session, which starts in January.

“My sense is that something has to be decided by the end of this year,” said Libous, who supports fracking. “To go beyond that, I think, becomes extremely problematic.”

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston, also a Republican and a hydrofracking supporter, said she needs to know what the state is going to do so the region can plan for the future.

“Let’s do what we got to do, say ‘yes or no’ and let’s move on,” Preston told Gannett’s Joseph Spector. “Because if we are not going to be doing this, we have to figure out what we are going to do — what we are going to do in the Southern Tier and in New York state.”

(AP Photo)


About Author


  1. John Armstrong on

    Senator Libous’ and Broome County Executive Debbie Preston’s reckless and irresponsible rush to frack is cause for great alarm. Their push to frack – a bow to the gas industry’s pressure – comes as New York’s leading scientists and medical professionals have just once again put forth great concerns about the health impacts of fracking. Yet instead of advocating that the best science be done to determine the health impacts of fracking, among other concerns, here we have Senator Libous and County Executive Preston rushing to frack for political reasons. Speaking of, why is it that one of the leaders of the State Senate is so opposed to bringing this issue before the legislature? Perhaps it is because Senator Libous knows that a majority of New Yorkers – including residents of the Southern Tier – oppose fracking.

  2. As a constituent of both Senator Libous and County Executive Preston, I am appalled at their lack of protection of the people in their districts, their disregard for the many constituents who have contacted them expressing their support for a continued moratorium or ban, and their seeming mistrust of their government colleagues.

    Given the emerging independent science on environmental and health impacts, if a decision is to be made by the end of year, as Libous wants, it would have to be a decision not to pursue unconventional gas drilling in New York State.

    I am also distressed that Preston seems unaware that there is already an extensive five-year initiative by the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council being implemented, which centers around renewable energy leadership in conjunction with Binghamton University and Cornell, the education sector, the health care sector, the agriculture sector including value-added food manufacturing, improvements in transportation, and tourism. Introducing unconventional gas drilling into the area would cause considerable disruption to the plans already in place.

  3. There is a glut of natural gas and prices are at or near all time lows. We have seen a history of industry mistakes and water and air pollution in Pennsylvania. There is no need to drill now and certainly it should not be done based on the last version we saw of the SGEIS which contains several fatal flaws including:

    no health risk assessment,

    no place to take the flowback,

    waste, which produced by any other industry would be considered as hazardous and would be treated and transported as such, but gets a pass by the DEC document,

    cumulative impact study only relating to water withdrawal but none on impacts of multiple wells in an area,

    no scientific explanation for differing setbacks and no consideration of soil types or terrain in determining those setbacks (spills of the chemicals and of the flowback can wind up in places where they should not go).

    Those were some of the main flaws in the last version we saw. These and many more have been pointed out in the Scope, first draft, and second draft in thousands of public comments. Failure to address them in the “final” version will result in public outcry and legal suits. and further delay the day when NYS might be able to say this may be done safely and to begin permitting in area where drilling would not harm the environment. To have regulations based on a flawed SGEIS makes no sense, and to start permitting HVHF wells makes even less sense.

    Hugh Kimball

  4. It sees that Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, wants to gut the democratic process that he was sworn into Government to uphold and just go right to fracking, constituents be damned. Is this Legislator for the people or for the money which he’s hoping will come from the gas companies?

  5. It seems that Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, wants to gut the democratic process that he was sworn into Government to uphold and just go right to fracking, constituents be damned. Is this Legislator for the people or for the money which he’s hoping will come from the gas companies?

  6. “….If it lingers longer…..decision would get caught up in the state legislative session….”
    “….something has to be decided by the end of this year – to go beyond that…..becomes extremely problematic…..” Sen. Thomas Libous – Binghamton


    Please, Senator, surely your statement is to appease the apparent rulers of NY? It reflects a simpleton’s understanding of the Gas Industry issue. The Issue HAS been, and continues TO BE – an “extremely problematic” issue. Please, Senator, set aside a few hours today, within the comforts of your home, at your own computer, to “google” even just the past five years of industry news. This surely will avail you some insight of the “problematic issue” currently at hand.

    Rosily optimistic, Governor, for your certainly agonized-over decision to look into health impacts of gas industry to New York’s citizenry if developed even further within the State. i’m just a bit curious as to why Health hasn’t been a priority? Perhaps maybe the health effects now seen in PA and other states weren’t as visible when New York’s gas discourse?

    I am sorry, though, Mr. Cuomo, for your decision to place the health impact review into the hands of NYS Department of Health I don’t know how that particular subsystem of NY government works, but based on the dirt continuing to be unearthed on workings of other State subsystems, perhaps NY would receive less skewed data, a more thorough, leaving-no-stone-unturned study, with fewer dollars spent ultimately, if the task were put into the hands of an independent grouping of specialists.

    New York State’s pension monies are deeply invested in the gas industry.
    News recently of long-standing over-reimbursement to New York State by federal government for health care of institutionalized persons.
    New York Times series run during the past year on abuses within the OMRDD (recently relabeled OPWDD.)

    Surely you inherited much of this mess, and, with the prodding of the New York Times, you have expeditiously worked to clean up the OPWDD.

    Too many layers of mess exist within our New York State system to rely on the NYS Department of Health for such a critical undertaking.

    Please, get a “clean catch” for New York – CITIZENS and GOVERNMENT (comprised of we citizens, of course) by bringing in a well-thought-out team, independent of State, who have minimal to no investment in energy industries.

    God speed to you both and Our State as we work through what really matters.

  7. I live in the southern tier. I do not want gas drilling to come to this area for many reasons: unknown health impacts, unknown cumulative impacts, depression of property values, industrialization of residential neighborhoods. When our elected representatives want to rush into gas drilling without considering these effects, I have to wonder why. I consider their rush to drill reckless and thoughtless; not good traits for elected officials. They add to the polarization of our communities by not considering all sides of the issue. And why, oh why, Senator Libous does this have to be decided before the end of the year and without the legislators being in Albany? This lends a sinister overtone to your support for gas drilling. And evinces no concern for your constituents, who are strongly divided on this issue.

  8. Leaders like Senator Libous and Broome County Executive Preston show a deplorable lack of concern about real science and the people they are supposed to represent. Fracking has no place in the future of New York State; anywhere in the state. The majority of residents in the area they are opposed to represent are opposed to fracking, as are majority of New Yorkers.

    If this is such a safe process, why are they and the Governor and DEC Commissioner avoiding doing a proper, impartial health impact study? Reports from all over the country come in every month showing that communities are being harmed economically, while land and water is being permanently contaminated.

    If the leaders of this state cannot get it together to create a state wide ban, which is what the residents and taxpayers really want, its time to get all these people out of office.

    What New York needs is to invest in sustainable energy technology. This is where our real economic hope will come from.

  9. It is extremely alarming that these two politicians, who were elected to represent their constituents, are so eager to destroy the state even as statistics show that the majority of those constituents do NOT support fracking! Yes, a decision needs to be made soon- against fracking! We need a permanent ban on this dangerous and destructive process. It will NEVER be safe, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to substantiate the myriad of dangers associated with fracking. It is incredibly irresponsible for Libous and Preston to be trying to urge Cuomo to allow fracking.

  10. It is shocking that Senator Libous (R – Binghamton) and Broome County Executive Debbie Preston seem to be unaware of the tremendous risks involved in hydrofracking. One of the most serious is the risk of ground water contamination and the accompanying dangers to human health. The reason Governor Cuomo has delayed his decision on fracking is to investigate its potential impacts on public health.

    Horizontal hydraulic fracturing depends heavily on the use of many undisclosed types and amounts of toxic chemicals that are mixed with water and sand and injected under great pressure deep into the earth. Studies, including those done by Dr. Theo Colborn, have identified some of these chemicals to be benzene, toluene xylene, and ethylbenzene, to name just a few. These are highly toxic, dangerous chemicals. Once in the earth, there is great risk for these chemicals to contaminate our precious ground water. When this ground water makes it to a faucet in a family’s home, those who drink it are at serious risk of damaging their health. Family members, old and young, and even those not yet born, may experience long term illnesses to their skin, eyes, respiratory systems, livers, brains and nervous systems, immune systems, kidneys, and cardiovascular and blood systems. It has been known for years that benzene is linked with leukemia.

    It is deeply disturbing that Senator Libous and Debbie Preston are pressing the Governor to make a quick decision on fracking – a decision which would put their constituents and many other New York State residents at serious risk of long-term health damage.

    It is good that the Governor has decided to delay his decision on fracking in order to study potential health impacts. However, he proposes to do an ad-hoc review that is not carried out with transparency and public input and that does not follow the established protocols of a careful, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment. Governor Cuomo must not take this expedient, irresponsible pathway. He must show greater wisdom and take as much time as is required to complete an independent, wide-ranging Health Impact Assessment in order to protect all of his New York State constituents, now and for generations to come.

  11. jennifer t. schultz on

    The Libous and county executive preston should not be pressing for this action until a health asessment is completed. Hydrofracking shoul dnot be done at all since this threatens our water supply. Not only does it threaten our water supply it also brings crime and I know people are laughing at that comment.
    There is a highway in alberta canada called highway to hell. The number of drunk drivers and deaths from drunk driving has increased two fold. There is a license plate with the following name: Pray for me I drive highway 63. Also, in south dakota there were two men who were on the job at a fracking site in south dakota. They went to montana (i believe it was not sure)and stopped a woman and raped and killed. her. There is not even enough housing for men who work in hydrofracking.
    The most important thing is that it damages the water. Everyone states that fracking goes down a mile. Sure it does but it drillls through the water table. The slurry that is put down into the well is put inside at extremely high pressure, causing cracks to let the natural gas come out. Well, these cracks also crack the area of the water table. The slurry often backs up into all of the other cracks. This does polllute the well water. there are 4,800 wells in NY that are uncapped,, and not even being used. If there is drillng near one of these uncapped wells, and there is methane (which often is let loose in the drilling process)there is often explosions of the methane.
    Also, the slurry is full of toxic chemicals. Now, the fracking industry wants to use diesel to add to the slurry. It takes 4 to 8 million gallons of freshwater to drill one well. If the state wants to drill 15 wells it willl use 15 million gallons of water. The great lakes is the largest source of freshwater in the world. We have 2% of the freshwater in the world as well. The global water crisis is in an emergency state. We need to make sure that this action is not taken and endanger all of our children, pregnant women and those who are immune system depressed.

  12. Residents across New York State, including municipal officials, health providers, scientists, civic organizations such as League of Women Voters, grass roots and environmental organizations have questioned the wisdom of hydrofracking as a means to bolster the economy.

    Concerns about this industrial process include the following: unknown chemicals in drinking water; degree to which methane migrates; proliferation of nondisclosure agreements; no health impact or cumulative impact assessments; boom and bust cycle economics; excessive truck traffic and water withdrawal; network of pipelines and compressors that give off fugitive emission, etc.

    What’s their rush? Is it that Libous and Preston haven’t a clue? Or, is it the case that they have absolutely no regard for the health and welfare of residents?

  13. Sherlock Homie on

    How much more obvious can it get that all the above posts were written by the same yahoo under various names?