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Outside of NYC, New York State Favors Marcellus Drilling

New York's registered voters favor the economic benefits of drilling in the Marcellus Shale more than they fear environmental problems, according to a poll released on Thursday by Quinnipiac University. All voters -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- also favor taxing gas producers.

From Aug. 3 through Aug. 8, the Quinnipiac pollsters surveyed 1,640 registered voters in New York about a variety of issues. Voters overall were in favor of gas drilling by a 47-42% margin.

"Drill for the jobs, New Yorkers say, even though they're worried about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing [hydrofracking]," said Maurice Carroll, who directs Quinnipiac's Polling Institute. "And while we're drilling for natural gas, let's tax those drilling companies, voters say 59-29%. Even Republicans support this tax..."

New York State voters "believe 75-17% that natural gas drilling will create jobs," the poll found. "While many voters know little about hydrofracking, voters believe 52-15% that this process will damage the environment, with 33% undecided." All groups polled felt this way overall.

Support for gas drilling was strong in the upstate area, where 51% were in favor of drilling while 39% opposed, as well as in the suburbs, by a margin of 52-37%. However, voters in New York City, where no gas drilling is taking place, were almost equally opposed by a margin of 50-38%.

The poll found that the state's Republicans strongly supported gas drilling by a margin of 67-20%, while Democrats were opposed by a 52-37% margin. Independent voters were divided 47-45%.

Voters were nearly evenly split about the New York Department of Conservation's proposed recommendations to allow hydrofracking in a portion of the state's Marcellus Shale, with 45% in support of drilling and 43% opposed, according to a poll of registered voters released in mid July by the Siena College Research Institute (see Shale Daily, July 15). A survey in New York conducted early this year also found support for hydrofracking and gas drilling (see Shale Daily, March 10).

A review of New York's gas drilling and hydrofracking regulations is under way and expected to be completed later this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make a final decision in 2012 about whether producers will be permitted to drill in the state's portion of the massive shale play.

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