Aug 22 New York has no timetable for issuing new
regulations on the fracking drilling technique, Governor Andrew
Cuomo said on Wednesday, keeping environmentalists and drillers
in suspense as he has since June, when he said a final report
would be released shortly.
The governor, a Democrat, said he understood the "passion"
on both sides of the issue. "Let the science dictate the
conclusion," Cuomo said, adding "We will make a decision based
on the facts."
The governor spoke to reporters during a break from a policy
conference as about 350 people, including environmentalists,
protested outside in midtown Manhattan against allowing fracking
in New York state.
In 2008, the state placed a moratorium on fracking on the
grounds that it could contaminate ground water supplies,
increase remissions and cause health problems.
Since then, the state's Department of Environmental
Conservation has been studying fracking, which extracts gas and
oil from shale by injecting large amounts of water, sand and
chemicals to fracture rock.
New York is home to part of the massive Marcellus shale
formation - one of the biggest in the nation - which also
stretches across parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
Pennsylvania's decision to allow fracking led to a boom, but
a number of spills, well blowouts and reports of water
contamination there have stoked anti-fracking sentiment in New
York. Drilling companies say fracking will bring New York badly
needed revenue and jobs.
Cuomo, already considered a possible presidential candidate
in 2016, risks alienating some traditionally Democratic voters
by allowing fracking.
"If Governor Cuomo wants the support of New Yorkers who care
about clean water, their health and the environment when he runs
for president in 2016, he should abandon his plan to frack New
York," said Zack Malitz, the campaign manager for CREDO Action,
who one of the protesters. CREDO Action calls itself a social
In June, the New York Times said Cuomo was considering a
plan to limit drilling to the poorer counties in the southern
tier near Pennsylvania - including Broome, Chemung, Chenango,
Steuben and Tioga counties - and only allow it in towns that
agree to it.
A Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman, when
asked about this report on Wednesday, said: "Our review of
high-volume hydraulic fracturing is continuing and no decisions
have been made. It is premature to talk about options until the
review of the science and the facts is complete."