New York Assembly approves two year fracking moratorium

The New York State Assembly enacted a two year ban on the gas drilling method known as hydraulic fractoring.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The New York State Assembly on Wednesday voted to extend a moratorium on the gas drilling process known as fracking for two years, according to Bloomberg News.

Since 2008 the state has banned any new drilling using the technique where water, sand and chemicals are injected into shale formations to release natural gas, while it studies the safety an environmental impact.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is awaiting the results of a New York State health Department review of the process.

The legislation approved by the Assembly would extend that moratorium until 2008.

"We will not sit idly by and endanger the health and safety of our communities by rushing necessary health and safety reviews," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters. "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 before the Department of Environmental Conservation makes its decision."

The proposal now heads to the Senate.

Reuters reports the power sharing in that body between Republicans and a break away fraction of Democrats could complicate things.

"The good news is this is only one step in the process, it takes three steps to become law," Tom West, an attorney who represents oil and gas companies in New York told Reuters.

West also told Reuters that "New York has squandered billions of dollars of economic opportunity by dragging its feet on this issue."

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