Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill On The Lifting Of The Fracking Moratorium

July 1, 2011

(Albany, NY) The decision by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Executive to lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is misguided and premature. For the last several years, we have known that certain aspects of fracking pose serious, negative environmental consequences. Among the vexing issues still unresolved is that New York currently has no sure and safe way to dispose of spent fracking fluid. Serious concerns have also been raised about the impact on the water supply for residents proximate to wells. Exempting the New York City and Syracuse watersheds from drilling does not address the legitimate apprehensions of those who live outside of these regions, yet face the same risks of dangerous contamination.

At a bare minimum, the New York State DEC should provide time to receive and digest important information due from pending Federal studies.

Finally, recent reports about the questionable "Enron"-type economics of fracking demonstrate, if nothing else, that there is no urgency to climb aboard the bandwagon at this time.

We in the Assembly have long advocated that New Yorkers be given the tools to become more energy efficient and to access renewable energy technologies. This year, in partnership with the New York State Senate and Governor Cuomo, we made significant progress. The more energy we save, the less we will need. The more diverse our energy mix is in the state, the less susceptible we are to wildly fluctuating external economic forces.

I urge the DEC and the Executive to reconsider their decision and to renew the moratorium consistent with the legislation that recently passed the New York Assembly.