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article imageOp-Ed: Fracking in New York State may be blocked until 2015

By Anne Sewell     Mar 7, 2013 in Environment
The New York State Assembly has just voted to extend New York's ban on fracking until 2015. This is good news indeed, but there is still a long way to go.
Artists Against Fracking are happy to announce that New York State Assembly has voted for the ban to be extended to 2015. There will now be more debates and environmental and health studies done before fracking can proceed in the area.
However, now the State Senate must pass the legislation to extend New York's fracking ban, and Governor Cuomo must approve it, if it is to continue.
Reuters reports that the New York State Assembly passed the legislation on Wednesday, extending the moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (more commonly known as fracking) in New York State until May 2015.
This moratorium has been in place since 2008 due to concerns over the practice, which involves pumping chemical-laced water and sand deep below the surface to extract natural gas from shale, and is known to contaminate water supplies.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement before the vote, "We will not sit idly by and endanger the health and safety of our communities by rushing necessary health and safety reviews."
“We need to better understand the broad impacts to our environment, our economy and the health and safety of all who work and live in New York,” he added.
The legislation was passed by an unofficial count of 95 to 40 in the state assembly. However this legislation must still be approved by the state Senate. Reuters is stating that this might be complicated by a power-sharing arrangement between Republicans and Democrats. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat, and as there is currently a Democratic majority in the Senate, so this may be enough for final approval.
However, Tom West, an attorney representing oil and gas companies in New York told Reuters, "The good news is this is only one step in the process, it takes three steps to become law,"
"New York has squandered billions of dollars of economic opportunity by dragging its feet on this issue," he added.
Artists Against Fracking are continuing the petition against fracking, stressing that it is important to continue to keep the pressure on Governor Cuomo.
Their latest statement was, It's working, we're winning, and your hard work is really paying off!"
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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