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Lame duck update: Paterson might not sign fracking moratorium

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The lame duck session produced one result: a conundrum for the governor about whether or not to sign the hydrofracking moratorium.

As we've already noted today, the ball is now in the governor's court on the hydrofracking moratorium. While a statement that the governor made on WAMC last week had many folks thinking he would sign the bill, that's now in question. 

This afternoon, the governor told New York Public Radio's Karen DeWitt:

Paterson: I have to review [the moratorium legislation] if we're making a decision. It certainly validates the fact that ever since the preliminary environmental impact statement that DEC approved for hydrofracking, we have gone through the public comment period and extended it because we got a tremendous amount of information from environmentalists, from interest groups, and also from private citizens.

Paterson: It ... really says a lot for the people of New York, on both sides of the issue, the amount of research and time that people have put into it. But it certainly has given us a pause, that we don't want to do anything to disrupt the environment. Particularly water quality, which is a worldwide problem now, maybe as serious as the energy shortage, and I would think that we may still be examining this up until May, certainly beyond my administration. So I think the legislation has merit but whether or not it's necessary is something I'll look into in the next couple of days.

DeWitt: [Signing] it would certainly tie the hands of the next governor, I would think.

Paterson: Right and I don't want to do that in any way.


What else did the lame duck session produce? As Nick Reisman points out on the Democrat and Chronicle's Vote Up blog, Brooklyn Democrat John Sampson will return to the leader position for the Senate Democrats.  Same in the Assembly, Cara Matthews notes on Vote Up - Democrat Sheldon Silver will return to the leadership position he's held since 1994.

What didn't the session produce? Any solutions for New York's budget deficit.  The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both have good rundowns of how the blame game played out yesterday.

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