Did New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s trial balloon plan to allow fracking just burst? Yesterday, the governor was peppered with questions about his unofficially announced plan to allow limited fracking of natural gas wells in five Southern Tier counties and only in communities that want it.
Appearing on an Albany radio program, Gov. Cuomo said:
"The truth is normally nuanced, and I think that’s what you’re looking at with hydrofracking," Cuomo said. "First of all, we’ve made no decision on hydrofracking, and I’ve said all along the science is going to dictate."
Asked again about the reported plan, Cuomo said: "I don’t have a plan, and I want to do the first step first, and then I want to address the second."*
MDN is not exactly sure how truth is “nuanced.” Truth is truth. It’s either accurate, or it’s not. Half-truth, part-truth, etc. is not truth. But perhaps politicians live in an alternate universe? Anywhoo…
The gov went on to espouse the same line he’s used before: We’re waiting (and waiting and waiting) until the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes their review.
Significantly, he paid credence to the idea of home rule:
"Yes, you could override local government," Cuomo said. "Or, you could say, ‘Well, we’re going to respect home rule if it is coincident with the obvious and necessary ramp-up period anyway.’"*
<MDN rant> Home rule, for those not familiar with the concept, would let local town boards decide whether or not they would strip away the property rights of all landowners in the town. If two of three town board members decide “no,” then landowners in that town would not be able to lease their land for drilling. While preventing an industrial activity in a residential neighborhood is not a bad thing—i.e. zoning, something done for other industries every day—disallowing an activity by a particular industry in the entire town constitutes trampling an individual’s personal property rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. <End rant>
Apparently the gov is a little thin-skinned and sensitive to the criticism that he’s trying to play this issue both ways, “threading the needle” by pleasing both anti- and pro-drillers:
Cuomo said a resolution to the hydrofracking debate in New York is not about "threading the needle," but rather "finding the truth and doing what’s intelligent."
*Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jun 14, 2012) – Cuomo: No plan or decision yet on hydrofracking