The goal is to allow researchers the time to determine the environmental impacts that fracking would cause. Specifically, the concern of drinking water safety, methane gas releases and risk of radioactive materials are concerns that have been brought up with regard to the drilling process.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released a statement before the vote that read, “We will not sit idly by and endanger the heath and safety of our communities by rushing necessary health and safety reviews. “
In the Assembly, Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of roughly 2 to 1 that helped to pass the legislation. The unofficial count regarding the vote was 95-40.
This is the third time the Assembly has passed a similar moratorium bill which then were killed by the Senate and never reached the governor for final approval. Both pieces of legislation were passed in 2010 and 2011.
While the legislation that was passed Wednesday by the Assembly still needs to be approve by the state Senate, making the bill somewhat ceremonial at this point. The Senate is politically divided and has not shown signs of backing a moratorium giving many the idea that it will not pass.
In his State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned that he stressed the need for more research to be done before fracking would be legalized in New York. If the bill passed through the Senate it will land on Cuomo’s desk for final approval.
Cuomo has his own review of fracking that is currently on pause. He had given his Health Commissioner more time to conduct a health review that begun in September but is not stalled. There is currently no specific timetable for completion.
Following the passing of the moratorium by the Assembly, Cuomo said that he was comfortable with his