New York State Assembly votes to block fracking until 2015

NEW YORK, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 2:55pm EST

NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - The New York State Assembly passed legislation on Wednesday that extends the moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the state until May 2015 and requires further studies on the environmental impact of the practice known as fracking.

A moratorium on fracking has been in place in the Empire State since 2008 because of concerns that the practice, which involves pumping chemical-laced water and sand deep below the surface to extract natural gas from shale, can contaminate water supplies.

The current legislation applies to the Utica and Marcellus shale gas deposits, some of the most significant in the country. It requires a full review process, including a new study to look at the potential public health impact of fracking.

"We will not sit idly by and endanger the health and safety of our communities by rushing necessary health and safety reviews," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement before the vote.

The New York State Assembly, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of about 2 to 1, passed the legislation by an unofficial count of 95 to 40.

The legislation passed by the Assembly must still be approved by the state Senate, where its passage might be complicated by a power-sharing arrangement between Republicans and Democrats. But a Democratic majority in the Senate may be enough to send it to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is also a Democrat, for final approval.

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Comments (2)
JohnArmstrong wrote:
Bravo to the New York State Assembly for acting in accordance with the best available science and putting the health and best interests of all New Yorkers first!

Mar 06, 2013 3:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
lijlijbriggy wrote:
Thank you Sheldon Silver and the Assembly for putting actions against rhetoric, and do what is right for the health and safety of New Yorkers.

Mar 07, 2013 10:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
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