New York's fracking future

Posted at: 03/02/2013 11:17 PM
Updated at: 03/09/2013 11:25 PM
By: Lily Jamali

ALBANY - The debate surrounding the controversial issue of fracking has taken yet another twist.

According to the Associated Press, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to hold off on approving fracking in the state until more is known about the potential health and environmental risks.

The A.P. story suggests that private conversations with his former brother-in-law, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., played a role in the governor's decision to wait.

Kennedy said he believed Cuomo is waiting for results from a study out of Pennsylvania, where fracking is legal.

"I'm glad to see the Governor has continued to decide that science and fact should rule his decision," said Forest Cotton, a regional organizer with New Yorkers Against Fracking.

The study examines the health histories of patients who live near wells and other locations involved in fracking, in which natural gas is drawn from shale.

The A.P. reports Kennedy confirmed that Cuomo was mulling over a plan to approve 10 to 40 pilot wells in the state's Southern Tier.

"That would be a really bad idea," said Cotton. The contamination that has occurred in wells across the country - it's not reversible."

The governor reportedly came close to approving fracking last month. It's speculation which at least one local supporter says she doesn't buy.

"I think he wants to delay this as long as he can," said Melody Burns, a radio personality with Talk 1300 AM.

Burns said she's still hoping Governor Cuomo will approve the pilot wells.

"I think it's a good start. But let's do it instead of sitting back and saying well, we need more study. You could study this to death. And what's happening while we're studying this to death? People are leaving New York State so let's do it," Burns said.

Governor Cuomo's office did not return News Channel 13's request for comment.

A spokesman from his office told the Associated Press that state agencies are still examining the risks to safety and health posed by fracking.

There are currently three studies - including the one in Pennsylvania - which could prove critical to Governor Cuomo's ultimate decision.