Cuomo Fracking Ban

Experts, Ithacans split over ban...

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By Christopher Byrns via the Cornell Daily Sun, 1/22/15

In light of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D-N.Y.) decision to prohibit hydraulic fracturing throughout New York State, locals and experts expressed varying opinions, citing both environmental and economic issues.

Cuomo’s decision makes New York the first state with substantial reserves of natural gas to ban the practice, according to The New York Times.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 expressed his satisfaction with Cuomo’s decision.

“The people of Ithaca could not be more thrilled … Governor Cuomo has used a fact based and rational decision making process to make the best choice for New York State,” Myrick said. “This administration continues to make New York a progressive leader in the United States.”

Prof. Bob Howarth, ecology and environmental biology — who co-authored the “first ever peer-reviewed analysis of the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas” — also approved of the ban and said Governor Cuomo made “the right decision.”

“Our research indicated that far from being the ‘bridge fuel’ claimed by industry, shale gas has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than any other fossil fuel,” Howarth said. “In the subsequent few years, hundreds of other new studies have documented major risks of contaminating drinking water supplies, threatening public health, and increasing earthquakes. New York will be far better off without shale gas.”

Industry expert Thomas Shepstone — who participated in a panel debate at Cornell nearly a year ago — said Cuomo made a “political decision with no foundation in science.”

“[Cuomo] sold out the economic interests of the Southern Tier, which is failing miserably in comparison to adjoining areas of Pennsylvania,” Shepstone said. “It’s a classic problem reflecting the political reality of New York, a state where the vast bulk of the land is effectively governed by a huge majority of urban voters.”

Cuomo’s decision follows this past summer’s ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — which said that towns had the authority to ban fracking within city limits, The New York Times reported.

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