Posted at: 03/11/2013 7:28 PM
| Updated at: 03/11/2013 7:41 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann
Governor Andrew Cuomo isn't saying exactly when he'll decide whether to support hydraulic fracking for natural gas in the state.
But Monday, he signaled that a conclusion may be closer than expected.
Governor Cuomo made it clear he's not in a hurry to make a decision on fracking, and he's also not going to let emotions or pressure get in the way.
“We want a conclusion based on the science. I get all the tumult and the emotion on the fracking. I get that there are a lot of paid lobbyists and consultants all beating the bushes,” says the Governor.
Impassioned groups on both sides of the fracking debate have been rallying at the Capitol for months and months, while the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation study the economic and health impacts of drilling for natural gas, primarily along the state's southern tier. Some of the studies will take years to complete, but today the Health Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, signaled he's nearing a conclusion.
“I anticipate that we will be done in the next few weeks. There’s no real timetable we want to make sure we cover all ground and not rush to a decision,” says Dr. Shah.
That's a concern for fracking opponents like Environmental Advocates of New York. They want a moratorium on drilling for two years.
“These moratoriums that are proposed in the Senate and have passed in the Assembly could give the State the time it needs to really consider health impacts of fracking,” says Katherine Nadeau, of Environmental Advocates of NY.
Governor Cuomo wouldn't say when he'll give a thumbs up or down to fracking, he just wants to be certain what to expect.
“There are some states went ahead and started fracking and then they figured out what the effects of the fracking were. I want to know what we are doing before we did it,”
Dr. Shah says he's been meeting with researchers on fracking in the past two weeks.
He says there's no need to wait for the current studies to be done to make his recommendation.