New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly repeated his promise to make a decision on whether to lift a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) before the next gubernatorial election in 2014.
According to reports, the Democratic governor held a press conference Monday to rattle off a list of accomplishments during his first three years in office. But he reportedly said he wanted to avoid putting pressure on his staff and didn't want to estimate when a decision could be forthcoming.
"It's one of the most important decisions I think we will make as a government with far-reaching consequences," Cuomo said, as reported by the Associated Press (AP). "It's more important to be right than fast."
As for the other accomplishments during his term, Cuomo said, "I think they are totally apples and oranges. When it's appropriate to move fast, we move fast."
Last May, Cuomo predicted for the first time that he would make a decision on HVHF before the election (see Shale Daily, May 29). The New York gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 4, 2014. Cuomo, a Democrat, is eligible to run for re-election, although he has not formally announced his intention to do so. He was elected to his first term as governor in 2010.
In September 2012, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens asked Department of Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to complete a health impact analysis of HVHF, before the DEC completes a supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS) on the practice (see Shale Daily, Sept. 24, 2012).
In a rare statement on the issue, Shah told the AP Monday that "as recently as a month ago we got new data from Texas and Wyoming, and until I am comfortable with the state of the science, I am withholding my recommendation.
"Science needs to be done in a sacred place...to understand both sides of the issue. The process needs to be transparent at the end, not in the middle."
Earlier this month, an attorney representing two oil and gas companies threatened to file a lawsuit against the DEC if they did not release the SGEIS on HVHF within two weeks (see Shale Daily, Dec. 3). Thomas West, an attorney for The West Firm PLLC in Albany, NY, has been retained by two subsidiaries of Norway's Norse Energy Corp. ASA -- Norse Energy Corp. USA and Norse Energy Holdings Inc. -- which entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in October (see Shale Daily, Oct. 18).
The SGEIS was ordered in July 2008 by then-Gov. David Paterson, effectively placing a moratorium on drilling horizontal wells in New York.