New York is coming up on its five and half-year anniversary for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. For more than a half decade, Governor Andrew Cuomo has dangled hope in front of residents in New York’s Southern Tier but refused to follow through, even as many of them live in dire economic straits. Unsurprisingly, a recent snap poll by the Rochester Business Journal shows nearly two-thirds of the 540 respondents are exhausted by the delay and empty promises from the administration, and they are ready to move forward with responsible, job-creating development.
Here’s the first relevant question from the poll:
Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo right to continue to delay a decision on use of hydraulic fracturing in New York?
For the past 15 months the Cuomo administration has been presumably working on a health impact study, which the decision on allowing shale development will be based on (or so we’re told). This past May, Governor Cuomo stated the study would be done in “several weeks.” But like all of his promises, several weeks have come and gone. In November, Cuomo stated it would be done before the 2014 general election. Every time a promise to move forward is broken, the people who suffer are hardworking Americans.
A second question from the poll was even more telling:
In your view, should New York allow use of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale?
Given the amount of energy New York uses as compared to the rest of the United States, this question is a no brainer. New York residents are saying loud and clear: our state should develop this resource and allow the Southern Tier to get back to work.
Besides being one of the largest energy users in the United States, New York is also one of the largest users of natural gas. Take for example New York City, according to a 2011 report by ICF International:
“Approximately 57 percent of New York City’s energy use is fueled by natural gas, either directly through on-site combustion to heat and cool buildings, or indirectly through the use of gas at power plants to generate electricity.” (emphasis added)
Fast forward to today and take a look at how electricity is generated in New York:
Cheap, abundant, clean-burning natural gas is out in front, which should come as no surprise: Even Gov. Cuomo recently announced a plan to repower and expand the Dunkirk Power Plant by converting it to a 435 megawatt natural gas facility, touting the fuel’s economic and environmental benefits for the Empire State.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Marcellus Shale formation – part of which underlies the Southern Tier of New York – holds 141 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. Given the excellent track record of shale development through hydraulic fracturing, and the strong support from New York residents, there’s just no reason for Governor Cuomo to delay development any further.