Unshackle Upstate has been pretty vocal about our support for responsible shale gas development in New York State, and we continue to hope that the state’s seemingly endless environmental review is coming to an end.

The issue continues to be a much discussed one.  In last Friday’s New York Times, John Holko of Lenape Resources (which is located in Genesee County) vents his frustration with the state’s lack of clear direction on the issue. John’s concerns are valid ones – he is a New York-based business-owner, who is looking across the border to Pennsylvania, and he can only wonder why New York doesn’t allow his company to drill for natural gas.

At a recent panel discussion in Broome County, one anti-drilling activist even called for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to start its review all over again.

Our concern is that the state, assuming it allows shale gas development to move forward, will likely impose onerous regulations that could make the use of hydraulic fracturing cost prohibitive.  Given the job creation potential of shale gas development, that would be a huge mistake.

We also learned last week that the state Department of Health (DOH) concluded last year that, “with proper regulations in place, shale gas development will have no significant adverse impacts on human health.”  And yet we still wait for yet another DOH review.  Can you say “paralysis by analysis”?

We hope that the Cuomo Administration begins issuing permits for shale gas development soon.  The Southern Tier economy – and the Upstate economy – will benefit from it when they finally do.