NY Gov. Cuomo Dumps Reference to Fracking in Big Speech

tightrope walkerYesterday, all eyes were on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his second “State of the State” address, delivered in Albany. The popular governor has walked a tightrope on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, but after yesterday’s speech, MDN wonders if he’s fallen off that tightrope.

Since his inauguration in 2011, Gov. Cuomo has seemed to be on the side of allowing gas drilling, but then, good politicians “seem” to be on everyone’s side at one point or another. Gov. Cuomo was due to address the issue of fracking in yesterday’s speech. In fact, there’s a short 125 words dedicated to it under the subtitle of “Hydraulic Fracturing in the Southern Tier.” The interesting thing is, he left that section out when he delivered the speech—he never uttered the words. Here’s what he was going to say:

In 2011, the Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) conducted a comprehensive review of the impact of proposed gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing. DEC presented for comment significantly improved measures to protect the state’s drinking water, air, land, and other natural resources, and completed a study of potential socioeconomic impacts. DEC released the revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and comprehensive regulations governing all aspects of high volume hydraulic fracturing. DEC also held four public hearings around the state, attended by a total of 6,000 people. The Department received more than 15,000 comments.

DEC is reviewing all the comments and expects the final environmental impact study and the advisory panel’s recommendations to be released in 2012, before any decisions are made on how to proceed.

(full speech embedded below)

His prepared remarks hedge and say the DEC “expects” the final study, and the advisory panel’s recommendations, to be released in 2012. We’ve all seen how our expectations have been shattered over the past 3 1/2 years, especially since anti-driller Joe Martens took the helm of the DEC. And 2012 may mean Dec. 31, 2012. Delivering the final study/recommendations has to come “before any decisions are made on how to proceed.” How long will it then take to make a decision on how to proceed? Oy vey.

MDN wonders, is Cuomo now backpedaling on the issue? Is he starting to cave to environmental extremists (who are among his political base)? His prepared remarks for the big speech are about as generic and innocuous (ie meaningless) as it gets, and yet he left even those remarks out. Politicians like Cuomo don’t do things by accident. MDN sincerely hopes this isn’t an omen of things to come from Mr. Cuomo.