The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Fracking: A Leadership Vacuum in New York State

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 17, 2014

Here’s what you need to know about the Cuomo administration’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York:

After more than six years of a state moratorium on natural gas development using fracking, after two years of reviewing the fracking research of others, after seeing safe fracking work in more than 30 states – including neighboring Pennsylvania, where fracking is generating billions in tax revenues, allowing the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars to communities, as well as billions in royalty payments to private landowners – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team took the path that’s 180 degrees in the wrong direction for New York.

It’s politics, not science. It’s gamesmanship, not leadership.

New York is the loser – in terms of opportunity for families and support for teachers, communities and basic infrastructure. State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox:

Cuomo is leaving New York as the “only one of the 35 states with extractable natural gas to be missing out on the hydro-fracking boom. To New Yorkers across upstate struggling for economic growth: New York’s governor has failed you.”

The governor’s decision comes despite robust federal and state regulation covering natural gas development and environmental protection. New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau:

“A politically motivated and equally misinformed ban on a proven technology used for over 60 years – throughout the country to great success – is short-sighted and reckless, particularly when New York depends on safely produced natural gas just over the border in Pennsylvania.”

Moreau pointed out that safe natural gas development using advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal development in Pennsylvania has supported road and bridge improvements, water and sewer projects, local housing initiatives, environmental programs and rehabilitation of greenways.

All while New Yorkers, sitting atop the same Marcellus Shale play that lies beneath Pennsylvania, watch. And will continue watching.

The Cuomo administration dithered, stalled, delayed and then punted into the future – guaranteeing that New York will fall further behind. When real leadership was needed in New York, it was not to be found. At a news conference, the Wall Street Journal reported (subscription required), Cuomo said the decision was made by underlings, not him. “I don’t think I even have a role here,” the governor said.

That’s wrong. The governor had a role – to make a decision based on the facts and science, not political science.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.