Oil and gas companies spent millions of dollars on lobbying Albany to make a decision on hydrofracking, but the state doesn't seem any closer to allowing the practice and all sides are urging caution. "I wouldn't say it's a given," Republican state senator and hydrofracking advocate Tom Libous tells the Times. "Economically, we need it desperately. But at the end of the day, if the scientists and geologists at the D.E.C. say 'this is not a good thing to do,' I'm not going to challenge it." Did the earth just shift, or what?
The Department of Environmental Conservation received 46,000 comments from citizens concerning hydrofracking, although it's unknown how many were for and how many were against. Cuomo didn't mention it in his state of the state last month, a glaring omission at the time that now seems calculated to convey a sense of deep, unhurried deliberation. Even the advisory panel charged with paying state employees looking at the issue has been in limbo since December.
"You would not be hiring staff to regulate hydrofracking unless you believed you were going ahead with hydrofracking," Cuomo told reporters last month. "And we haven't made that determination. So the budget won't anticipate hydrofracking approval."
A surplus of natural gas and a refocusing on the costs to contain hydrofracking's risks are also slowing the push for the practice. “If we opened the door, it’ll be a very slow ramp-up, and that’s a good thing," an attorney for oil and natural has companies says. If New Yorkers happen to take a vacation in Wisconsin in the meantime, all the better.