Thank you to the many New Yorkers that have shared your concerns regarding hydraulic fracturing (fracking) with me. I am inspired by the passionate response I have seen in New York and around the country to protect our environment against irresponsible shale gas development.
Like many environmentalists, my opinion of natural gas has evolved. As I described this past October in my Huffington Post editorial, I was an early optimist about natural gas’s potential to end the catastrophic practice of mountain top removal coal mining. Cleaner burning natural gas could also reduce American emissions of carbon, acid rain, mercury, ozone, particulates and other poisons associated with coal. I pointed out more recently that companies engaged in fracking have not been able to meet the baseline challenge of safely extracting natural gas. Instead, they have relied on their capacity to use political clout to capture the agencies that are supposed to regulate them. In this way, they have derailed the kind of strong, rigorous regulation needed to safely extract and deploy gas generated power and earn public credibility and trust. My current position is that I oppose shale gas extraction by means of fracking unless and until the industry can prove it CAN and WILL be done safely for both human health and the environment. The industry must also show that it will provide a net economic benefit to local communities and the state’s economy. Based on the best new scientific evidence from across the country, there are growing doubts that the industry will ever be able to meet those standards.
I will certainly take your comments into consideration. I remain, as always, committed to preventing irresponsible shale gas production in our state and will continue my advocacy for a long-term sustainable energy solution.