The morning of December 17th found New Yorkers on both sides of the fracking issue holding their breaths: an announcement regarding fracking was soon to be made. To many people's great surprise, Cuomo allowed Zucker of the DOH, and Martens of the DEC, to declare that the science indicated that at this time, High Volume Horizontal Fracturing could not be done in a way that would protect the health of New Yorkers and, thus, should/would be banned. (click here)[tag]
Activists protest fracking outside Gov. Cuomo's office, New York
(Image by CREDO.fracking) Permission Details DMCA
Anti-fracktivists were, and still are, crying with joy, worshipping Cuomo as the new hero of the movement. Land owners with leases were, and still are, crying with rage that their opportunities to save the farm, or reap riches were denied them.
Reverse the scenario, let us suppose that on December 17th Cuomo had declared that fracking was going to be permitted. Anti-fracktivists would be in the streets, plans for a "biggest ever" January 7th State of the State protest rally would be in the works, Cuomo would be compared to Satan or some other heinous villain.
Landowners would be thanking God, their lucky stars, or maybe even Cuomo that they were finally going to have their chance at the American dream.
The reality: the price of gas is very low, at this time. The cost of fracking is high. Some say there is not enough gas to make it economically feasible to drill in NYS at this time. Some say that at this time the needed infrastructure of pipelines and compressor stations is not in place. Some conjecture that at this time the profits would be so low that the royalties paid to the landowners would be far lower than would be tolerated.
The reality compels me to ask, is it the physical health of the people of NY that Cuomo is concerned about? Or the fiscal health of the oil and gas industry at this time?
Or could it be the health of Cuomo's political future? Prior to this decision he was the target of both the anti-fractivists (mostly Democratic), and the landowners with pending gas leases (mostly Republican). At this time he is worshipped again by his Democratic base. The ire targeted at him at this time is by those who never would support him at any time, so why should he care?
When at this time frack drilling's lucre in NYS is luke warm at best, wasn't the best decision Cuomo could make for himself, and the oil and gas industry, to declare fracking not healthy at this time?
And when the cost of gas rises again? Will the lower gas yields become profitable enough? Will the health (physical and fiscal) studies be adjusted? To me there is cause to worry about what will happen at that time.
Ironically at this time, NYS has been, is, and will continue to be fracked via low volume and vertical frack drilling, via 30% of PA's radioactive frack waste being dumped and dispersed here, fracked via hundreds of millions of gallons of water being withdrawn from NYS's pristine water sources for fracking elsewhere, fracked via liquid gas storage in caverns and old wells, and via compressor station emissions, pipelines in place and being planned. Think we're safe from fracking in NYS at this time? Think again.