The Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation held a public hearing on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s implementation of the state budget, and on a proposed $5 billion environmental bond for upgrades and repairs to water and sewage systems.


Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, Environmental Conservation Committee chair, recently introduced legislation to authorize the borrowing, which would be subject to voter approval in November 2014.


Unshackle Upstate has not yet taken a position on this new borrowing proposal.  Generally, we do not like it when the state borrows money, as it has done far too often in the past few decades. But if the state is going to borrow, that borrowing should be voter-approved (as opposed to back door borrowing), and the public needs to know exactly what the money will be spent on.


When an Assemblymember asked about the status of the state’s review of natural gas development through hydraulic fracturing, a DEC Deputy Commissioner testified that the state has no timetable for its review.  DEC did not provide any update as to when we can expect their review to be finished.


So New York’s unexplained delay continues.  At a time when even California is moving forward with shale gas development, we have to ask – yet again – why not here?


According to a report released last week by the American Petroleum Institute, natural gas development can co-exist with other types of economic activity, even outdoor recreation.  Read the report here.