Last Monday, the Assembly passed a three-year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas development. Thankfully, the Senate did not approve the bill. (The Assembly has been passing a version of this ‘moratorium’ bill each year for the past few years.)
In his press release touting the bill’s approval, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said “We do not need to rush into this.”
We do not need to rush into this… Let’s think about that statement. It was July 2008 when then-Governor David Paterson directed the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to review and update’s the state’s regulations regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas development. That was the beginning of New York’s de facto moratorium that continues to this day – almost 6 years ago.
Since then, New York’s gas industry has been significantly reduced. In 2006, New York’s gas industry produced 55 billion cubic feet of natural gas; in 2012, the industry produced 26 billion cubic feet. New York State issued over 700 gas drilling permits; less than 200 were issued in 2012.
The only thing New York has “rushed into” in the last six years is higher unemployment and poverty in the Southern Tier – a part of the state that sorely needs the economic development that natural gas development could bring to the region. Shale gas development has been driving job growth throughout the nation. Just not in New York. But why would we want to rush into private sector job creation?