Posted at: 03/04/2013 3:35 AM
An oil and gas industry group is warning that a business exodus from the state will worsen while Gov. Andrew Cuomo awaits the results of a Pennsylvania health study before deciding whether to allow fracking.
Meanwhile, landowners are preparing to sue the state over lost gas-leasing opportunities.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Cuomo came close to approving a limited drilling plan last month before environmentalist and former brother-in-law Robert Kennedy Jr. persuaded him to await a new study.
Cuomo is expected to announce a formal decision after the Department of Environmental Conservation completes its 5-year-long environmental impact study in coming weeks.
Jim Smith of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York says Sunday "for business owners, the opportunity is not here in New York."
Smith said Sunday that permit applications for conventional vertical gas wells, which are still allowed in the state but are less profitable than the far-larger shale gas wells, have dropped from about 600 in 2008 to below 200 in 2012 as the industry has moved to other states.
"We can assume the exodus we're seeing now will continue" if a moratorium on drilling remains until the results of the new study are in," he said.