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Siena Poll Shows Slight Uptick in Opposition to Fracking in NY

Opposition to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State has grown slightly, according to a Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday.

According to Siena, 43% of respondents oppose the DEC allowing fracking to move forward in parts of upstate New York, while 39% support the idea and 15% are undecided.

Fracking garnered support among suburban voters (42-36%), Republicans (57-30%) and men (46-41%), but it was opposed by New York City residents (42-36%), Upstate residents (49-39%), Democrats (46-32%) and women (45-32%).

Still, Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said that "geographically, New York City voters are most opposed [to fracking] and Upstate voters are most supportive."

Last month a similar Siena poll showed respondents were evenly split on fracking, 40-40% (see Shale Daily, Feb. 5). Fracking opponents had polled ahead of supporters in January (44-40%), but they had trailed behind supporters in four previous polls taken in December (42-36%), October (42-36%), August (39-38%) and May 2012 (37-36%), the oldest month available (see Shale Daily, Dec. 6, 2012; Oct. 30, 2012; Aug. 22, 2012).

Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute, said the poll results showed there was still significant support for the practice.

"The latest Siena poll shows that, despite loud and boisterous cries from environmental alarmists, New Yorkers still recognize the potential benefits safe natural gas development can bring to the state," Moreau said Monday. "But even more, the poll makes clear that New Yorkers want [Gov. Andrew Cuomo] to put politics aside when making decisions that are best for the state."

The New York State Assembly passed a bill calling for a two-year moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing last week (see Shale Daily, March 7). Fracking opponents have submitted their own bill in the state Senate, but the futures of both bills are in question because the higher chamber is controlled by Republicans (see Shale Daily, March 8).

"Governor Cuomo has built a reputation for action, for decisiveness and for making Albany work," Moreau said. "Yet, after two years of claiming that he would let science be the determinant, he appears now to be dithering under pressure from environmental extremists who rely on false claims and junk science to stop progress. The people of the Southern Tier are growing skeptical that anything has changed in Albany, as are the supporters of safe natural gas development all over the state."

The Siena poll surveyed 803 registered voters between March 3 and 7, and has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5%.

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