Activity, or inactivity in this case, has continued in recent weeks on the decision over the future of hydraulic fracturing in New York. As the New York Senate’s summer recess approaches, the Senate bill proposed in early March that would formally extend the fracturing moratorium still awaits a vote due to resistance by Senate Republicans, despite widespread calls for action by proponents of the bill.
The stalled legislation parallels a bill passed by the State Assembly which would extend the current de facto moratorium until May 15, 2015. The extension would require Governor Cuomo to withhold a decision on fracturing in the state until completion of the long-awaited studies commissioned by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health on the environmental and public health impact of fracturing.
But co-Senate majority leaders Dean Kelos and Jeff Klein are standing by their vow to prevent a vote on the bill. Senate Democrats and anti-fracturing activists are voicing their frustrations over the inaction of Senators Kelos and Klein as the last pre-recess Senate session on June 20 approaches, and are pushing for a vote. Nonetheless, these calls to send the bill to the floor appear to be falling on deaf ears, as the Republican opposition has given no indication of pulling back its resistance. And even if the bill passes through the Senate, Governor Cuomo, who has already expressed resistance to accepting a “political resolution” of the fracturing decision, may veto it. Such a move would not be unprecedented. The Governor’s predecessor, David Patterson, vetoed similar moratorium legislation in 2010.