Last Thursday, Gov. Cuomo announced his plan to site three “destination resort” casinos in Upstate New York.  He would prohibit casinos in New York City, Long Island and the city’s northern suburbs for at least the first five years in order to drive gamblers upstate.

The Governor said “Tourism is a great economic generator.  We need jobs in upstate New York and economic activity in upstate New York like we need oxygen.”

The proposal, for which bill text has not yet been released, includes a “non-political independent” siting process, specific criteria for select gaming operators, and a revenue distribution plan.  The plan would divide Upstate into six regions; three resorts would be bid out with only one resort eligible to be located within a region.

The plan is subject to approval by the state Legislature and then by the general public at a November referendum.

We agree with the Governor that Upstate needs jobs.  That’s why we believe that the state needs to lift its fracking moratorium as soon as possible.  First of all, no constitutional amendment is needed to do that.  Second, no industry is going to create more high paying jobs than the development of the Marcellus Shale.

We need the Governor to finally cut through all of the nonsense and noise.  The science is clear.   The SGEIS is done.  It is time to start rebuilding the Southern Tier by lifting the moratorium this year.