High Fives: New York Legislature Approves Fracking Moratorium

I wrote last week about an incredible effortby the Working Families Party and other allies to help turn up the heat in New York State on the controversial practice of "fracking" by gas drilling companies. In a huge victory last night the New York Assembly voted 93 to 43 for a temporary moratorium on the practice (until May of next year) so that the environmental impacts can be better assessed. This comes after states like Pennsylvania, which allow fracking have reported numerous environmental violations, most especially, threats to ground and surface water.

New York's senate passed a similar bill several months ago and now the fracking moratorium awaits the signature of Gov. Patterson -- you can urge him to sign this legislation by calling his office at 518-474-8390.

As the Working Families Party reports:

At the time the bill passed last night, more than 52,000 New Yorkers had signed the petition urging the Assembly to act. We joined an incredible alliance of Frack Action, Environmental Advocates, MoveOn.org, Mark Ruffalo, Pete Seeger, Assemblymembers Robert Sweeney and Steve Englebright, Borough President Scott Stringer, and so many others to pass a bill that everyone thought was dead -- first through the New York State Senate, then the Assembly.

This is an incredible victory, and a testament to the efforts of great grassroots organizing, but as the moratorium is temporary, this is also only one step in a much longer process, which will first require the signature of Patterson. As the New York Timesreports:

The effect of the moratorium is doubtful, given that the state Department of Environmental Conservation is already reviewing the potential environmental impact of the drilling in upstate New York, where natural gas companies are buying up leases and applying for permits to tap the Marcellus Shale, site of one of the largest natural gas fields in North America. The department is not likely to come up with regulations governing drilling on the Marcellus Shale before May, some state officials said.

This means that organizing efforts are going to need to remain vigilant and we will continue to bring you much more on the fight against fracking. Congrats to the WFP, their allies and the many New Yorkers working to protect clean water.


AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at November 30, 2010, 7:26am

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