The box scores after election day showed frackers 4, anti’s 4. Courtesy of a gubernatorial grand-slam by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, hydraulic fracturing is now banned throughout the entire state of New York.
In this ballgame within a ballgame, it’s
Yoko and Shawn, the likes of Moveon.org , and wealthy Manhattanites: 1
Mineral owners, asthmatics, underemployed up-staters, and cash-starved municipalities: 0
Producers are safe at home. They will take their bonus money, royalty payments, and jobs elsewhere, such as to other producing states, or just over the border to Pennsylvania.
Why did he do it?
A cynic would say it’s a political decision: He needs the environmentalists for his next election more than the citizens who actually live where production would occur. The professed rationale is that health concerns outweighed economic benefits.
The New York Times reported:
- The governor said, “I have never heard anyone say to me “I believe fracking is great” . . . “What I get is ‘I have an alternative but fracking’”.
- The move seems “likely to help repair [Gov. Cuomo’s] ties to his party’s left wing.” (Did we say “cynic”?)
- In announcing the report, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said there was “insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the safety of fracking.”
- “We can’t afford to make a mistake”, he said. “The potential risks are too great, in fact they are not even fully known”.
Decide for yourself what those explanations really mean, or if they are plausible, but the long and short of it is that unless and until fracking is proven beyond any doubt to be safe in all circumstances, at least under the current thinking there will be no fracking – and thus minimal oil and gas production – in New York. Given the propensity of certain groups to make up what they want out of the available scientific evidence, that is not likely to happen.
Here is the 184-page report if you want to read it. Jillian Kay Melchior of National Review Online summarizes:
- At his news conference Cuomo said that the commissioners made the decision and “I think I don’t even have a role here”.
- The first draft of the report, under then-Governor David Patterson, concluded that New York should allow fracking to proceed. Patterson asked for do-over that was followed by years of intensive environmental lobbying.
- There was a suggestion that prosperity itself poses a public health risk (see p. 6).
- The report focused on what it referred to as “significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with fracking”.
- Absolute scientific uncertainty of fracking is unlikely to ever be attained.
What could he have done?
Here is what comes immediately to mind:
- For communities that might want the economic benefits of oil and gas production, let the voters decide for themselves.
- Impose reasonable regulations, as producing states have done.
- Pay attention to the long and safe history of hydraulic fracturing.
Natural Gas is Evil Because …
The protestors in the Times photo gathered in Manhattan, where air pollution is the lowest it’s been in 50 years thanks to, among other efforts, more natural gas for home heating.
It’s the preferred fuel?
New York City’s Pollution Control Code revisions announced in April by Mayor deBlasio will require certain targets, such as mobile food trucks and char broilers, to be run on natural gas and renewables in order to clean up the atmosphere.
You can count on this
Citizens where the process is legal thank the governor for helping keep the production at home, and for affirming New York’s hostile business environment.
Today’s musical interlude – a big Christmas thank you from the Far Left to the Guv for his Kris Kringle moment.