Is NYS State Senator Tom Libous Reversing Course on Drilling?

not a good signAre the political winds shifting in New York State among the politicians that have been staunch supporters of gas drilling? There’s perhaps no stronger supporter among elected politicians in Albany than Tom Libous, a powerful state senator from Binghamton. Sen. Libous is the deputy majority leader of the NYS Senate and a member of the DEC’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel (see this MDN story).

So when MDN spotted this quote by Sen. Libous in the New York Times in a story about how the review and approval process for fracking in the state is slowing down, it gives us great pause:

Even some of the most outspoken advocates for hydrofracking are showing patience, including Tom Libous, the second-ranking Republican in the State Senate, who represents the natural-gas-rich Southern Tier, on the Pennsylvania border.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a given,” he said of the state’s permitting hydrofracking. “Economically, we need it desperately. But at the end of the day, if the scientists and geologists at the D.E.C. say ‘this is not a good thing to do,’ I’m not going to challenge it.”*

If the quote is accurate (always a question when it comes to the NYT), it sure sounds like a step back from his previous strong support of drilling. And not a good sign for New York landowners.

*New York Times (Feb 6, 2012) – After Early Gallop, Albany Slows to Crawl in Making Decision on Gas Drilling

  • Anonymous

    Libous is doing the prudent and wise thing.  if the scientists and academics in his state
    do not support  fracing, how could he do otherwise than join them?  but he should get councill from outside NY state also.

  • Anonymous

    I wish to ask the editor a question:  how statistically valid are your surveys.  You ocasionally  ask a survey question requiring a yes or no which depends very much on the persons point of view on approval of drilling.  Now if most of the people who read your column lean to one side, would not this influence the results. It’s like asking all country club members “are you for increasing taxes to people making more than $150,000 a year”.  well, most CC members may in fact earn   more and vote no.  so the universe being sampled will influence the vote.  how many readers of MDN are pro drilling and against should be a queston asked as well. 

  • Donna Malkentzos

    My question is, is that REALLY his reason; or is it that Obama has recently encouraged gas drilling as an alternative to oil???  Is this yet ANOTHER politician that puts politics before his constituents?

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks for your question. The answer: I have surveyed the general MDN reading population on just that question, a couple of times, worded in different ways. The most recent was in December 2011. I asked if fracking should be banned. If you want to use that as a metric for how the MDN audience leans, the results were: 109 (26%) said yes, ban it; 295 (70%) said no, don’t ban it; and 17 (4%) said not sure. Total was 421 votes for that poll over the course of one week. Of course that’s a relatively small percentage of the actual number that read. Are most MDN readers pro-drilling? Unquestionably yes. I don’t try to hide that fact, nor do I try to present my polls as being statistically valid or representative of the wider population. They are simply a measure of what some MDN readers think.

  • Anonymous

    jas007 seems you just pulled your head out of the sand with that question. The Anti’s come on this site mostly to vent their anger. This is mainly a pro site, so if you don’t like some of the answers that your looking for,join the Sierra Club site or some site like theirs, they will stroke your need to be placated. But if you want factual news with factual answers stay right here. You wont get stroked, you’ll here opinions and fact based answers from professionals, landowners, construction workers, and the Editor.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think the Senators’ statement is that bad. I met the Senator in the fall and he assured me he is fighting the good fight to get drilling going in the Southern Tier. His statement is showing that he is not an expert in the field and he is leaving the decisions on weather fracing is safe or not up to Scientists & Geologists. However, if they find it to be safe I am sure he is 100% behind drilling. That could have been added to the statement and knowing the NYT it was probably omitted. It would behoove the Senator to clear up any discrepancy in the statement as to his stance on the issue.

  • Jim Willis

    I hope you’re right! And I agree, let’s hear some reassurances from Sen. Libous.

  • Pingback: MDN Weekly Update – Feb 12, 2012: Shell’s Cracker Plant | Marcellus Drilling News()

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