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