Mar 20, 2011 4:31 PM GMT
In three months, a statewide ban on all natural gas drilling comes to an end.
But will Gov. Cuomo allow developers to begin tapping the rich Marcellus Shale — and thus not only help allay New York’s energy woes but also boost the upstate region’s ailing economy?
Then-Gov. David Paterson issued the moratorium last December after vetoing a bill that would have extended an existing ban on hydraulic fracturing, aka hydrofracking, in which water and chemicals are injected into rock formations to release natural gas.
Hard-core lefties and environmental groups say the process — which is banned only in New York — contaminates groundwater.
But those claims are refuted by the official state geologist, who calls them “exaggerated” and says he’s found no evidence of such contamination in three years of study.
“This could really help us fight climate change,” said Dr. Langhorne “Taury” Smith, who works for the State Museum, in an interview with an upstate newspaper. “This is a huge gift, this shale.”
On the other hand, the controversy over the shale, he said, has been a gold mine for environmental groups — which have raised funds by alarming folks about the alleged dangers of hydrofracking.