Monday, August 2, 2010

A Moratorium on Fracking Possible by Nick Reisman - Vote Up! - Vote Up NY

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Click here to: Sign WFP letter to NYS Senate
Lawmakers may consider this week a moratorium on granting permits for drilling natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation of the Southern Tier.

It’s a goal environmental advocates and some property owners in that area have hoped to accomplish as energy companies gear up for the potentially lucrative drilling.

The practice, known as hydraulic fracturing, uses a mixture of chemicals and water to blast through rock and access the gas underneath. Business groups want the drilling to move forward because of its potential boost for jobs and the upstate economy. But environmentalists are skeptical the process is safe.

The drilling is pejoratively known as “fracking.”

Advocacy groups today were trumpeting the support of Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, Orange County, who has said he supports a bill that would put a moratorium on granting permits for the drilling until May 15, 2011.
Bonacic told the Albany bureau’s Joseph Spector that he was urging for a vote on the measure.

“We have to move cautiously on this,” Bonacic said. “Water is our most precious commodity.”

The labor-backed Working Families Party sent out a letter to supporters today pointing to Bonacic’s support and the likelihood that the bill could come to a vote when the Legislature meets again this week in Albany.

“This is a big deal: over the weekend, Republican State Senator John Bonacic announced that he will vote for a moratorium on risky natural gas drilling in New York State,” wrote Dan Cantor, the party’s executive director. “With Democrats and Republicans uniting on this issue, the NY State Senate almost certainly has the votes to pass a “hydro-fracking” ban. We just need the Senate’s leaders to make that vote happen — and they’re deciding right now whether it will be on their agenda for the week.”

Cantor urges opponents of drilling to call Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson’s office to voice their support for the moratorium.

“The only reason we’ve gotten this close is the immense grassroots outcry in support of a drilling ban,” Cantor. “Over 20,000 New Yorkers signed our letter urging Albany to act before it’s to late — and clearly, both Democratic and Republican Senators are recognizing just how much this issue matters to New York families.”