Fetterman fumbles flip-flop on fracking in energy pivot for general election
By The Associated Press
May 21, 2017 | 1:26 p.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hold a news conference to announce legislation to expand the U.S. Department of Energy’s low-carbon energy programs. (Jhaan Elker/The Post-Standard via AP)
Democratic activists in Albany pushed for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call for fracking in his state budget, and they won a modest victory by the end of February.
Now, the question is how to keep fracking under ground.
By the end of the year, a showdown may be brewing between Cuomo and the new Republican majority in the state Legislature.
The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 includes $2 million for a statewide fracking commission to study the issue and make recommendations, and $7.5 million to expand the state’s efforts to make nuclear power plants more energy efficient.
“We are going to have to have a full-on dialogue with the governor to figure out what is the best way to deal with this issue,” said Cuomo aide Jennifer Fried. “Do we have to do anything to get fracking in New York? Or do we just have to fight it.”
In short, the Legislature and governor will have a choice to make when the 2017-18 legislative session ends.
“I anticipate the discussion about fracking will be the last thing that emerges in this state of session,” said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Queens Democrat who leads a group that seeks to legalize fracking. “I’m expecting it to just be something that’s passed in the Senate to give the governor another opportunity to comment about it.”
The debate about fracking began with Cuomo’s decision in January to join with Republicans to advance a bill that would ban fracking for natural gas in the state’s two most populous counties, Nassau and Suffolk. Cuomo said the ban would protect the environment and New Yorkers’ energy security.