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The WatchdogHudson Riverkeeper Paul Gallay's Blog

Does Cuomo Have Any Idea How Bad His Fracking Process Looks?

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens Takes One for the Team During Testimony on Fracking

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo must have winced as state environmental commissioner Joe Martens was grilled on fracking during budget hearings last week. One legislator after another hacked at Martens, as he acknowledged that the state’s fracking health review wouldn’t be ready for “a few weeks,” despite being “critical” to an environmental impact statement that must be finished in a week.

To make matters worse, Commissioner Martens refused to commit to taking public comment on this critical health review. That’s because he’s run out of time for such comment without starting the whole process again. So, the public’s right to give input on the single most important report ever commissioned by the state on fracking is going out the window.

Please don’t imagine that Cuomo doesn’t care about how bad this looks. When nearly 300,000 public comments are submitted on an issue in less than one year, savvy politicians like our governor don’t just take note of public opinion, they pore over every detail.

The Governor knows that the opposition to fracking is deeper and stronger than is the support for this uniquely dangerous practice: 54% of New Yorkers who oppose fracking will be very upset if it happens, nearly three times higher than the number of supporters who will be very upset if fracking doesn’t go forward. Plus, 49% of New Yorkers say fracking poses unacceptable risks to drinking water — only 18% disagree.

Public opinion data like these show that the war over fracking is between people who say “no way,” because studies show it harms our water, air and communities, and folks who know that the environment may suffer but hope it won’t be that bad.

Fracking is by far the severest test Andrew Cuomo has faced as Governor. In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to predict that what Cuomo does on fracking will define his term of office. Whether you look at polling numbers, scientific evidence or the likelihood of defeat in court, the Governor is better off if he ‘hits the reset button’ on fracking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591989926 Sandy Reid

    He’d had better or he will never see my vote for anything for him. I am not the only one who feels strongly about this and him either. The power of the people is strong.

  • margaret

    Fracking is bad BAD

  • Dr William Sharfman, NYC

    If fracking is, in legal terms, reckless endangerment, then even ONE WELL is experimenting with reckless endangerment. There is no defense for even one well, none. The record, evidence, and documentation from neighboring Pennsylvania and around the country is already so clear cut that no doubt can remain, fracking is a danger to human health, the water supply, the air, the climate, a radiation hazard, a threat to agriculture and dairying, to tourism, the list is endless, but in the end, fracking endangers people’s health and puts the water supply at risk just as surely as terrorism does. No regulations can make fracking safe, it’s simply unsafe whenever it’s done.

    What is worse, the entire process of gagging the 3 health experts, of gagging the Health Commissioner, of sending Martens out to deliver evasive and untruthful “answers” about the process, proves there is something devastating to hide. The whole thing has been a kangaroo court with fake evaluations, no respect for the over 200,000 comments made by residents, voters, and taxpayers, and a total lack of candor and transparency.

    Unless Cuomo presses the stop button, this is the point at which fair minded Democrats part company with him for good.

  • Dr William Sharfman, NYC

    If fracking is, in legal terms, reckless endangerment, then even ONE WELL is experimenting with reckless endangerment. There is no defense for even one well, none. The record, evidence, and documentation from neighboring Pennsylvania and around the country is already so clear cut that no doubt can remain, fracking is a danger to human health, the water supply, the air, the climate, a radiation hazard, a threat to agriculture and dairying, to tourism, the list is endless, but in the end, fracking endangers people’s health and puts the water supply at risk just as surely as terrorism does. No regulations can make fracking safe, it’s simply unsafe whenever it’s done.

    What is worse, the entire process of gagging the 3 health experts, of gagging the Health Commissioner, of sending Martens out to deliver evasive and untruthful “answers” about the process, proves there is something devastating to hide. The whole thing has been a kangaroo court with fake evaluations, no respect for the over 200,000 comments made by residents, voters, and taxpayers, and a total lack of candor and transparency.

    Unless Cuomo presses the stop button, this is the point at which fair minded Democrats part company with him for good.

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