Exclusive: Andrew Cuomo has some suggestions for pro-fracking groups

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday criticized the strategy employed by groups who favor hydraulic fracturing, saying their lobbyists should spend more time educating the public and less time focused on “hallway chatter.”

In an interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau, Cuomo reiterated his position that an ultimate decision on whether to allow large-scale fracking in New York will be based on “facts and science.” But he suggested the pro-fracking groups aren’t using their time wisely as the state’s de facto moratorium on shale-gas drilling stretches beyond 4 1/2 years.

“I think the landowners’ consultants and the lobbyists for the pro-fracking groups would be better advised to spend their time actually getting out information to allay the fears of the people of this state than worrying about hallway chatter,” Cuomo said. “Their job is to communicate to the people of the state, to say that this is a safe process, to be open and available. And that’s what they should be doing.”

Cuomo’s decision-making process on hydrofracking has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks, with recent reports suggesting he may have been influenced by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — his former brother-in-law — to hold off on allowing the natural-gas extraction process to proceed. Cuomo has acknowledged he discussed the issue with Kennedy, but denied that the discussions led him to put off a decision.

The governor’s comments came following a meeting of his cabinet Monday, where state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said the department’s review of fracking’s potential impacts should be completed in “the next few weeks.” Shah had also signaled in February that his review would be forthcoming in weeks.

“We’ve been working with our experts very closely, going back and forth,” Shah said. “I anticipate we’ll be done in the next few weeks. There’s no real timetable. We are learning more information as we go and we want to make sure we cover all the ground and not rush through this.”

Meanwhile, high-volume fracking in gas-rich formations like the Marcellus Shale in the Southern Tier remains on hold until Shah’s review is complete and incorporated into permitting guidelines from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“It’s relatively simple at the end of the day,” Cuomo told Gannett. “The Health Commissioner is going to give his opinion after reviewing the facts. We’re not going to do it without him reviewing it. It’s that simple and it’s that obvious, frankly.”

(AP file photo)

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6 Comments

  1. “Their job is to communicate to the people of the state, to say that this is a safe process, to be open and available. And that’s what they should be doing.” Maybe they have nothing to say in this regard because that information is not available.

  2. Blame the messenger, what a mantra! How about the process is being used throughout PA, OH, VA with no negative effects and why not NY? NY is getting left behind. The fear-mongers cannot state any factual event of negative consequences. The EPA publicly stated HVHF is safe. Obama wants gas, the public wants clean, inexpensive gas. NY is not open for business, the jobless numbers in upstate continue to decline, just like Cuomo’s polling numbers.

  3. Maybe the Governor should take his own advice. The State must have untold volumes of information and facts. The Governor stated “before Labor Day” last August. Then he went to the DNC in Charlotte, had another tete-a-tete with RFK Jr., and low and behold, no fracking until he gets scince and facts. Experts at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, etc. say it can be done safely, with proper regulation, and will actually provide health benefits, due to the reduction in the use of coal and fuel oil and the associated air pollution. It will also cut the cost to homeowners and businesses. I have tried and tried to hold a reasonable conversation with the Anti-Frackers, it is a practice in futility. They only want to know what the screaming Mimis have to say, because they’re the experts, not those idiots at the esteemed universities.
    Governor, where were you when the gun owners protested in Albany? Why weren’t you out there explaining to them the errors of their thinking? Or is this a case of do as I say, not as I do?

  4. John Joseph Koons on

    Mr. Brown, reasonable anti-frackers try to hold intelligent conversations with pro-frackers, as well, with the same results. They won’t look at the proof. Pennsylvanians join us in Albany and inform us of “mysteriously” sick neighbors who cannot escape their houses due to poisoned well water. They show us dead livestock. What intelligent human being can honestly rationalize that injecting chemicals into our land would have positive results. I live on the Pennsylvania boarder. I SEE WHAT HAPPENS. I saw Dimock, PA, I’ve seen Dish, TX. Insurance companies refuse to even insure their property and homes, now. The only pro-frackers in this area own a lot of land and plan to leave when they become “rich.” The poor SOBs have no clue as to the soulless corporate world. The best education is the voice of experience but pro-frackers do not want to hear or see facts and that, my friend, is absolute insanity.

  5. Annette Gurdo on

    Anyone who thinks fracking is the answer to any economic woes in NY has just not read any reports from other places where they are extracting gas and oil. PA and WV, to name a few, are simply not any better off. The unemployment rates remain high. The “jobs and economic booms” are largely fictional. As John Joseph Koons said, people and animals are getting sick, too. How can anyone be so blind as to ignore these dangers? The pollution generated by fracking is becoming increasingly evident and documented. Close your eyes to that, and poison your children. It’s that simple.

  6. In rebuttal to John and Annette, OK, you appear to be in the anti-drilling group. Where is your proof of dead cows, sick people. Who and where are they. Listen to Fred Dicker this week (3/12-3/14) on Talk 1300 radio. He just came back from PA with interviews from REAL residents of PA. NO PROBLEMS, ONLY BENEFITS!. Show me proof that HVHF is causing damage. Not possible because it would be all over the front page news. Sautners from Dimock, PA and Dish TX were exposed as fraud. The consultant that made the allegations in Dish, TX is under inditement for fraud. Watch FrackNation, it will open your eyes to the lies of the anti-crusade