Lawmaker Supports Hydraulic Fracturing for Economic Prosperity
Republican Sen. Thomas Libous is frustrated with downstate lawmakers who have expressed opposition to the hydraulic fracturing technique.
Libous' Binghamton district, which encompasses all of Broome and Tioga counties and part of Chenango, sits above the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation and is expected to be among the first targeted by industry if high-volume hydrofracking gets the green light in New York.
"Look, I respect that everyone has an opinion, but I don't go to New York City or western New York or Long Island and tell them how to legislate," Libous said. "They're elected by the people there and they do their thing. We seem to have so many experts all around the state telling the people of the Southern Tier what's good for us. And you know what? I'm getting a little tired of it."
Libous, the Senate's deputy majority leader, has touted gas exploration as an industry that has the potential to rescue the Southern Tier's long-struggling economy.
But many, including several lawmakers representing New York City, have expressed concern about the environmental effects and potential contamination from hydrofracking, a technique using a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to break shale formations and release gas.
Part of New York City's watershed lies within the Marcellus Shale region.
While Assembly Democrats have been most critical of the industry, not all Senate Republicans are on board, either. Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, is holding a news conference Monday to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tour Pennsylvania and "see firsthand the devastating effects hydraulic fracturing can have on communities."
"I have great respect for my colleague," Libous said of Ball, "but I really wish that he would not worry about fracking up in the Southern Tier. We're not going to frack in his district, we're going to frack in mine."