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Energy

Will Paterson sign the fracking moratorium?

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Both houses of the legislature have signed on to a moratorium on issuing new permits for drilling operations. But will the governor?

As we reported earlier this morning, the state Assembly passed a moratorium on issuing permits for hydrofracking last night during a special session.  The Senate passed the bill back in the summer.  

The final step in enacting the hold until May 15 is the governor's signature - but will he sign?

A spokeswoman for the governor responded to a query from the Innovation Trail by saying that the bill hasn't yet landed on the governor's desk.  She also forwarded a transcript of comments that he made last week on WAMC:

"Well this was a very good example of public participation. Our DEC - one of the strongest in the country - originally ruled that the hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area. But we've received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea. And even with the tremendous revenues that could come in at this time - over $1 billion - we're not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage. So at this point, I would say that the hydrofracking, the opponents of it, have raised enough of an argument to thwart us from going forward at this time."

That's being interpreted as a sign of support in the environmental community.  The Times-Herald says some environmental groups are seeing it as a victory - and drillers are seeing it as a defeat:

"It's an astounding acknowledgement by a sitting governor that this isn't safe," said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, whose supporters were in Albany on Monday lobbying for the bill. A spokesman for the drilling industry called Paterson's statement "a little bit troubling."

We'll update you when we get word one way or another.

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