NYS Assembly Passes Fracking Moratorium

Two more years of studies and deliberation could be on the horizon after the New York State Assembly passed a moratorium Thursday on the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking. 

Under the Assembly moratorium, it would May 2015 the earliest any action can be taken on allowing drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing. 

The current legislation applies to the Utica and Marcellus shale gas deposits, some of the most significant in the country. It requires a full review process, including a new study to look at the potential public health impact of fracking.

The New York State Assembly, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of about 2 to 1, passed the legislation by an unofficial count of 95 to 40.

How they voted

Finger Lakes Area Assemblyman Brian Kolb, Gary Finch, Bob Oaks, and Phil Pasmaseno all voted against the hydrofracking moratorium.

The legislation passed by the Assembly must still be approved by the state Senate, where its passage might be complicated by a power-sharing arrangement between Republicans and Democrats. But a Democratic majority in the Senate may be enough to send it to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is also a Democrat, for final approval.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is currently finalizing an Environmental Impact Statement, a document whose release has been delayed for months. According to the Cuomo Administration, Cuomo will await for the department of health and environmental conservation to make any decision. 

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