Gas Exploration Will Bring Jobs To NY


July 26, 2011

When the State Legislature passed of the hydrofracking moratorium bill late last year, I drew a lot of flack for urging then-Governor David Paterson to veto the measure. Supporters of the moratorium raised the ghastly specter of contaminated water supplies and went as far as supporting a ban on all gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and beyond.

Paterson vetoed the measure but then issued an executive order instituting a moratorium on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. It was a head-scratching decision because drilling could not be permitted because the environmental regulations had yet to be drafted.

Because of my outspoken opposition to the hydrofracking moratorium, I was invited, along with John Holko, president of Lenape Resources, onto a NY1 News debate with actor Mark Ruffalo and Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox. It was an enlightening experience fending off both men’s wild accusations about the perils of “fracking.”

Since leaving office last year, I have written op-ed essays and appeared on the radio extolling the benefits of natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale. The NY Post published my op-ed, Phony Fears on Fracking, where I refuted the hysteria about the threat allegedly posed by horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

The election of pro-business Governor Andrew Cuomo brought the opportunity for a change in state policy. When asked about his efforts to reduce state spending, keeping taxes low and reducing the state workforce, Cuomo replied, “I’m a progressive who’s broke.”

Just last month, Governor Cuomo and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) agreed that prohibiting gas exploration without any credible evidence of danger to the state’s water supply would not be in the best interest of our state’s economy. Cuomo has gone on to say that his focus over the next six months will be “jobs, jobs, jobs.” That is good news for the residents and local governments in the state’s Southern Tier.

Read the full posting here.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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