Most Democrats “have supported fracking,” Schumer says (UPDATED)

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Sen. Charles Schumer on Monday said most Democrats across the country are in favor of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, but he was careful to defer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision-making process in New York.

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Schumer, D-N.Y., discussed the much-debate Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline system that would run from western Canada to to the southern U.S. and has long been under review.

When Schumer noted an increase in domestic oil and natural gas production in the states, host Joe Scarborough asked Schumer about the potential for natural-gas production in New York through fracking. New York sits within the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations, but high-volume fracking — the controversial technique used to help free shale gas — has been on hold in New York since 2008.

“Well, I haven’t stepped on the governor’s issue on this one. He’s being very, very careful because there are environmental concerns,” Schumer said. “But overall, the Democrats throughout the country have supported fracking. The president has, most of us have, and it’s worked quite well.”

Schumer’s comment led to this tap-dancing exchange:

Scarborough: “Would you like to see it in upstate New York?”

Schumer: “Well, it has to be done carefully and has to be done right.”

Scarborough: “If it’s done carefully, would you like to see it in upstate New York?”

Schumer: “If the governor feels it’s going to be done carefully, I sure would.”

New York’s review of fracking is currently wrapped up in the state Department of Health, which is reviewing whether the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed guidelines would protect public health. Fracking involves the use of water, sand and chemicals blasted deep underground to fracture shale formations and release natural gas.

Critics of fracking have been vocal in New York about the potential for environmental and health impacts, particularly as it relates to water quality. UPDATE: New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of fracking opponents, issued a statement saying they were “dismayed” with Schumer’s comments. They pointed to a Pew Research poll from September that showed 59 percent of Democrats in the U.S. are opposed to the “increased use of fracking.”

“New Yorkers deserve more from our senators than blindly following gas industry propaganda, and we urge Senator Schumer to re-evaluate and take a position that doesn’t support poisoning our families,” the coalition’s statement reads.

Here’s a video of Schumer’s comments, as posted to YouTube by Energy in Depth, a gas-industry funded group. (The full 20-minute clip can be found here, but the below clip is the extent of Schumer’s remarks on fracking.)

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42 Comments

  1. Hugh Kimball on

    I have found that most people who don’t really understand the process, regardless of political beliefs, probably do favor fracking. However, I have also found that when people learn the problems it brings and the health risks it creates a great many will then oppose fracking.

  2. The families who live near fracking rigs would beg to differ with out of touch Schumer. There is no amount of acceptable benzene for upstate NY kids to inhale (or Northeastern PA kids for that matter). Senator Schumer needs to get in touch the plurality of his constituents who don’t want fracking.

  3. Taxpayer1301 on

    Sadly, the Senator is reflecting the sentiments of his campaign donors rather than the people of Up-State New York who consistently poll as against fracking–a phenomenon which has occured as Up-State residents have become increasingly aware of the relalities of fracking–that it contaminates, pollutes, harms the health of people and animals, chops up fields and forests, effectively raises local taxes, reduces residential home values, devestates local, sustainable economies, contributes mightily to global warming and catastrophic weather events, and impoverishes the future health and welfare of generations to come. Adding insult to injury, Citizens United means that super-rich individuals and tax-avoiding multi-national corporations can get Schumer’s attention with their big donations while we 99%-ers who live, work, and provide the day to day stewardship for Up-State cannot.

  4. Joanne Corey on

    I think what Senator Schumer meant was that Democrats across the country who are getting showered by fossil fuel campaign donations and corporate lobbying are in favor of fracking. I live upstate, with fracking going on just over my town’s border in PA. We’ve seen our PA neighbors suffer air, noise, and light pollution, water wells loaded with methane and toxic heavy metals, deteriorating health, loss of property value, road degradation, accidents, increased crime, skyrocketing rents, and a host of other ills. These negative impacts hit people of all political parties and independents. I am embarrassed that my Senator is so oblivious to what fracking in your town or literally in your backyard looks/feels/sounds like. No politician should declare they support fracking without living 500 feet from a wellpad – or even closer to a compressor – for a few months during operations, as our PA neighbors have been forced to do. I doubt they would come away from the experience as supporters.

  5. victor furman on

    Joanne, taxpayer13o1, NYpride, and Hugh. This story apparently hit home for the 4 of you as it doesn’t fit your anti progressive attitude towards opening NY for drilling. You guys must call each other up as soon as an article like this gets posted. I have yet to meet anyone who is against drilling who knows anything about it.

  6. Hugh Kimball on

    I have yet to meet a pro-drilling person who will acknowledge even the potential problems cited in the various versions of the SGEIS, much less the very real problems of water and air pollution, leaking of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, or the terrible health problems people who live near wells and compressor stations have.

  7. Senator Schumer’s statement is regrettable, as is Obama’s touting natural gas as our nation’s energy salvation. If Both politicians would stop getting money and lobbying front the fossil fuel industry and take a look at the science that it coming out weekly from both the medical community and the scientists where both have cautioned against Fracking for health reasons in both people and land, water and air. No I am not paid by some entity. I am a New Yorker who wants to see our state move into the future using methods of creating energy locally for us by us. This will insure jobs for the future and independence from fossil fuel multi national corporations.

  8. NYWaterWoman on

    There is no safe fracking and increasing evidence that is harmful to our health, the environment, our communities. What about solar? The host that is asking Schumer these questions tries to squeeze in a comment about jobs but what about the solar industry? What about the jobs that will come from transforming New York’s grid to 100% renewable? What about the new utility project that will localize energy and create real long term jobs?

    The time is now… we need to shift immediately from fossil fuels and truly be post-oil. I want my future to be full of solar panel arrays and electric cars, not well pads and water contamination.

  9. TRUTH BE TOLD 13901 on

    I am so tired of naysayers saying our engineers and geologist here in NY are so stupid they cant drill a gas well without killing all life. Were do theses people think progress comes from comic books? We have been fracking wells in this country going on 80 years successfully with minimal problems all of which can be mitigated. I hope Cuomo hurries up and opens the state if only to prove these anti’s and the country how wrong they are. Actually 32 other states are fracking so it looks like most of the country already knows.

  10. Hugh Kimball on

    First of all no one is saying drilling a well will kill all life. Secondly, you cannot look at any of those other states realistically and not find problems. Lastly, fradking is only about 60 years old and those were vertical wells. HVHF has only been going on about 15 years. And, if it were so easy to safely get rid of the flowback and other waste, why is Pennslyvania snding so much of theirs to Ohio and even to NYS when they can get away with it?

    Also, those engineers and geologists are not from “here in NY.” They are from the gas industry and from elesewhere. And they will leave when their work is done, and we will wind up with water and air pollution and a lot of sick people.

  11. Vic Furman: I have yet to meet anyone who is for drilling who knows anything about it or else works for the industry.

  12. No But It Looks Good on You! on

    I’m disappointed that Sen Schumer hasn’t read the consistent polls, such as the Pew Poll cited above, and many more in NYS, that all show a majority of NYers against fracking, and the numbers grow every week. Or better yet, talk to everyday New Yorkers, who are not on the industry payroll or who own leases, and ask them how they feel about air and water contamination. And if it’s so safe, why not dispose of the waste in Brooklyn Mr. Senator?

  13. Coal is Better MyGas on

    G-Devi
    If your implying that Mr. Furman is employed by the industry your are misleading the public just as many of those who are against the gas do. Please read your statement and begin to realize how senseless it is

  14. First just look to Ohio and Oklahoma having seismic activity in areas that never were active until fracking. Look at the chemicals used that are toxic and of get into aquifers both are serious problems. Now here us what should infuriate all Americans local gas and oil production is booming in America yet the price if gas has not gone down why? Because the only people benefiting are in short term those who sold their rights to allow fracking in their land ;BTW when gas is gone your land and town will be worthless, and the gas companies who are making record profits get huge tax breaks , and are screwing the American public

  15. Westchester Voter on

    Senator Schumer – what are you saying and doing? Fracking in New York State – no way, no how.

  16. Thank God for Schumer on

    Senator Schumer

    It is hard and foolish for a high diver to dive into muddy waters without fear in his gut but you sir did it. As those who advocate for no gas in NY, the 4th largest user of Natural gas in the states, you went against the lie in the same fashion that a Marine on the battlefield would jump on an enemies grenade The propaganda machine out of Upstate NY run by paid professional protestors like Isaac Gorn out of Binghamton, Helen and David Slottje out of Ithaca make all kinds of statements that they are the majority and some politicians fell for it and ran on the anti gas platform results: Dan Lamb,lost to Hannah with only 13 percent of the vote, Tarrik Abdelizam lost to County Executive Debbie Preston with only 36 percent of the vote. Debbie was a republican in favor of drilling who beat a democrat in a democratic foothold on the pro-gas platform The same loss was handed to Terry Rennia running for mayor when Republican Rich David Handed her her loss even as the entrenched envirionmentaless anti’s worked feverishly through e-mails and taxi service to the polls to get the voters out. My point Chuck is everyone who has listened to the anti rant that there in the majority has been lied to and the polls show it

  17. i ninety-five on

    Drill baby drill.

    I really don’t know why you all want to continue supporting middle east dictators when we have an abundant supply of Natural Gas right here.

    And aren’t you being a little hypocritical as we’re all using Natural Gas that was fracked somewhere in the US.

  18. @ Truth be told:Best comment I have seen in a long time!
    As many of you will remember anyone running on an anti gas campaign in surrounding counties lost.
    As TRUTH BE TOLD states the FACTS, the same has been true for other areas. People are catching on to the trail of constant misinformation and fear propaganda campaign funded by foundations and countries that are loosing big to American energy revolution. Politicians are like the wind changing in a moments notice to protect power and elite positions. The fear of losing and having to join the ranks of the commoner is the only thing that motivates most today.
    It is sad that the facts have taken this long for anyone of authority to understand. The headlines of the media are doing everything to pin one against the other to sell and catch the viewer has gone to far. Thank you again TRUTH BE TOLD for you FACTUAL comments.

  19. Charles Pierce on

    Senator Schumer:
    During the impeachment hearings I sat in the same room very proud of you! I am NOT proud of you for siding with the Kochs, Wall St. and the oil companies. You are forgetting Third World places like Love Canal and the billions in costs needed in the Hudson River caused by General Electric. GE has paid zero on the billions of ongoing cleanup (we taxpayers pay) and by the way pays NO FEDERAL INCOME TAXES for years. It is part of the arrogance perpetuated by the greedy. Five cent fines don’t really change behaviors of oil drillers which spoil an area, then, as a subsidiary, go bankrupt.
    Senator, you are full of it when you say Democrats favor fracking. I live in upstate NY where we we’re “to benefit from the abundance of natural gas.”
    Hello! In less than 30 days my gas went up from $2.08 to $3.66/gal. before I stopped deliveries…as the gas flows to the ports in NYC, New Jersey and in Baltimore. It was never for us here in America!
    The Kochs are doing very well screwing us over. Your head is stuck in the sand, or in the pile of greenbacks thrown your way. You may sit and joke about wild drilling in upstate NY…but we are not laughing. A thousand very vocal pro fracking people are not a majority for the millions of us who won’t accept Third World living like in countries where they put their sewage, chemicals, cremains and garbage into their drinking water, then want help with their water (same in Schenectady, and Love Canal,N. Y. already.)
    I originally took you as a very smart, thoughtful person, worthy of our votes. You now represent a fascist setup. Chemicals have adverse effects on people. You should know that!

  20. August Braun on

    The beating and back biting by all the anti – drillers here on Sen. Schumer is predictable and pretty sad. Like a bunch of spoiled children who don’t get their way. All your money and lies have no affect on someone like Sen. Schumer or President Obama who have access to all the science and facts of drilling. Isaac Silberman – Gorn may for the first time be speechless….lol! Frack now in NY!!!

  21. Oppressed NYer on

    A light in NY has broken through the lies and misinformation campaign sponsored by the Park Foundation Soon the flames of truth will burn away 6 years of an anti-gas propaganda machine that lied and fear mongered its way into NY. and drilling will start. Thank you Senator Schumer

  22. Absolutely shocked that after all the years of letters and calls to Sen Schumer’s office, he would come out with a comment like this. The more New York citizens learn about the TOTAL ramifications of the HVHF process, the more and more people agree that 1) cannot be done with complete safety and 2) has the potential to adversely affect our state for generations to come.

    NY is growing steadily with economic improvements in many sectors. To suggest that we are not is ignorance on the part of Mr Scarborough.

  23. Dr. Ahmandat Undrstands on

    the more people that leave the Ruffalo Fox School of BS and get their education from MIT and Texas U. the more they favor facts and fracking

  24. Jill weingarten on

    I’m an independent democrat,a New Yorker,a science educator and I say NO to the man who signed the bill (HR260) back in September in the middle of the night without ever once answering the pleas of so many other New Yorkers to meet and speak with us about the installation of a metering station and a the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline in and under our National Park at Floyd Bennett Field. You never once responded to the letters or the phone calls. No Mr Schumer, you are incorrect when you say New Yorkers are for this. When people become educated about the ill effects of this natural gas boom and realize there are other ways and means to get off the grid and protect our planet, most would choose renewable energy. As our planet continues to warm, the methane by-products of this new age gas boom (fracking) will combine with the release of methane from melting perma frost and cause a heating like no other seen on Earth. Methane Mr Schumer is 800 times more potent than the CO2 emissions humans excrete daily.

  25. Amy Barlow Liberatore on

    So who paid you off, Senator? Former New Yorker, still activist, still passed about groundwater from Marcellus catching fire. Hometown Binghamton, if you have ever been there. You are a silk-suited sellout, and I am ashamed I ever supported you. Shame on you.

  26. Senator, I assure you, neither NY Democrats, nor New Yorkers in general, favor fracking. No, no, absolutely not, no. If you check in with your state, you will see that, one by one, the towns in your state are instituting bans and moratoriums on fracking, for overwhelmingly sound environmental reasons. Until such time that you invite fracking into your own back yard (your PERSONAL back yard, I mean), then it is your sworn duty to protect your constituents (who truly do face fracking in our homes and our own back yards). Will you personally vouch for the “safety” claims of big gas corporations?

    Since I cannot believe that you are a gullible man, I am mystified as to why you would trot in step to the tune of natural gas companies, singing their demonstrably empty promises.

    Taxpayers would like to know whether you align your interests with gas companies or with your constituents’ best interests. I like you, Senator. Must we break up?

    Your endorsement of the poisoning of your constituents should be a frightening electoral prospect. New Yorkers don’t want this, and you know it. We are not interested in casting our votes against our personal safety.

  27. August Braun on

    And the fear mongering goes unabated with no links, specifics or anything of substance. Just fear, hysteria and coercion. Your epicenter, Dimock, PA, has been given a clean bill of health by the PA DEP and the EPA a few years back and yet the lies and terrorism go on incessantly. Pathetic behavior by the anti – business, anti- drillers who are subsidized by the super rich downstate and NYC – http://nypost.com/2013/03/19/blueblood-agenda/

  28. Why is it OK for NY’s wine industry to use humane endocrine disrupters by the ton(s) that wash into the Finger lakes with every rain storm yet not one anti gas save our water radical mentions it. Here is a list of chemicals used in NY’s vineyards as recorded by the EPA.
    Sulfur – Sulfur is a yellow mineral with a strong rotten egg smell, and is the most heavily used active ingredient in pesticides for wine grapes. Sulfur is both a fungicide and insecticide, meaning sulfur kills molds, fungi and insects. More than 16 million pounds are used annually, and this pesticide is mildly toxic to humans.

    Isopropylamine Salt – Isopropylamine salt is also called glyphosate, and this chemical is an herbicide that prevents invasive weeds from choking and killing wine grape vines. This pesticide is relatively safe for humans, although it is considered a potential ground water contaminant. Isopropylamine salt only kills plants that are already growing, and is not used as a preventative. Others are – Carbaryl – Dicloran – Azoxystrobin – Bifenazate – Phosmet – Folpet – Fenpropathrin – Fenamiphos sulfoxide – Metalaxyl – Omethoate – Buprofezin – Diazinon – Pyridaben – Cyhalothrin, Lambda – Azinphos methyl – Dicofol p,p – Metamidophos – Esfenvalerate=Fenvalerate – Bifenthrin – Tridimefon – Fenerimol – Iprodione – Myclobutanil – Fludioxonil – Chlorpyrifos – Tetrahydrophthalimide – Tebuconazole – Methomyl – 1-Naphthol – Triadimenol

    Footnotes:
    1. Tests for any given food are often conducted in multiple years. In all cases WhatsOnMyFood shows only the most recent test year. The test results for Grapes come from test year 2005.

    2. All pesticide residue results on this page and elsewhere on the WhatsOnMyFood website were obtained by the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP)

    3. Punzi, JS, Lamont, M, Haynes, D, Epstein, RL, USDA Pesticide Data Program: Pesticide Residues on Fresh and Processed Fruit and Vegetables, Grains, Meats, Milk, and Drinking Water, Outlooks on Pesticide Management, June, 2005. Available online

    4. All toxicological data was either compiled for this site — typically from U.S. EPA reregistration eligibility decisions — or obtained from data compiled for the PesticideInfo website

    5. Includes pesticides that are moderately acutely toxic, highly acutely toxic or chronically toxic to honeybees.

    6. The percentage found is for all four of the following combinations combined: domestic or imported, and conventional or organic. To see data broken down into each of these combinations separately, click on “Conventional vs. Organic.”

    7. A pesticide residue may not be listed as carcinogenic, neurotoxic, hormone-disrupting or as a reproductive or developmental toxicant for either of two reasons: (1) it may have been studied for toxicity in one or more of these categories and the weight of the evidence did not support designating it as toxic, or (2) it may not have been studied.

  29. Listen to the INDEPENDENT scientists. They tell us no long term good can come of hydraulic fracturing or tar sands mining.

    Why are the majority of residents in fracked areas expressing fear and disgust with the effects of fracking?

    Why do you suppose Canada is so anxious to get rid of its LNG via the pipeline through our heartland? They have ports of their own but prefer to dump their problems onto the gullible USA.

  30. Sen. Schumer,

    Thank you for finally standing up for Natural Gas Development in NY and taking a leadership stance for saying what needs to be said in spite of the mis-information, emotional hyperbole, and selfishness of the anti-gas activists. Now please encourage Andrew Cuomo (he’s hardly befitting the title Governor) to follow suit.

  31. Patricia Goldsmith on

    I’m very disappointed in Sen. Schumer but not really surprised. Big Oil is the richest business in the history of humanity, and as Bob Dylan once said, money doesn’t talk, it screams. Sen. Schumer is well established and well respected, but even he is not immune to the consequences of his actions. I won’t vote for him again if he promotes fracking, and fracking’s supporters certainly aren’t going to vote for him.

  32. Diana Wright on

    Senator Schumer is not in touch with his constituents and his comment “But overall, the Democrats throughout the country have supported fracking. The president has, most of us have, and it’s worked quite well.” is wrong. First. the only people it has “worked out quite well for” are the gas and oil companies, the politicians who allow the gas and oil companies to buy their campaign (yes Schumer has benefited from gas and oil donations) and the few landowners who have actually received money for leasing their land.

    The vast majority of people who are actually educated and/or have experience with the REAL impacts of fracking know that it DOES poison their water and cause health problems, it DOES lower the value of their property to practically nothing and that the gas and oil companies lie to them and bully them into a life from hell regardless of if they sign a lease or not. If a majority of democrats in New York state favored fracking, there wouldn’t be a moratorium on it for the past 5 years.

    The White House just released a report this week officially stating that climate change is REAL, humans have negatively exacerbated the problem and we need to take serious steps to reducing carbon. So it seems that the big Democrat in charge has also seen the light. Sen Schumer needs to wake up because he has just alienated his voting public.

  33. Becky Dagaz on

    He is just one more reason I am glad I quit the Democrats and registered as an Independent. Have Democrats suddenly decided to abandoned the well being of the environment?

    I live in Upstate New York and I don’t want to see any frack rigs in my back yard. I don’t want my water poisoned or my air unbreathable. New York is a beautiful natural state full of rich farm land. I want it to stay that way.

    Schumer has made me consider not voting for him.

  34. Ronald Wahila on

    I am a democrat and totally against fracking. The dangers of fracking are widely known and I consider it a very foolish and risky undertaking. The value of our state is in the land and its water.. Please do not rape it for a few pennies. Once it is gone there is no turning back. Wise men think of the future.

  35. I will run for the US Senate seat in NY State if enough people volunteer ahead of time to get signatures for me to get on the ballot…otherwise, you WILL get Schumer again.
    He has also been a failure as a bill writer for student loan reform of which I have a proposal for a very practical, and cost-savings for students bill.
    Scott Noren DDS
    Ithaca, NY
    No Frack Zone
    On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/norenforsenate?ref=hl