NYC Councilman Gennaro Supports Cuomo on Fracking
NYC Councilman Jim Gennaro, who has publicly opposed hydrofracking since 2008 (in other words, way before it became cool to be anti-fracking), just released a rather curious statement praising Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his “diligent science-based approach” to whether the controversial drilling process should be allowed in the Marcellus Shale.
“The Governor has always made it clear in his many public statements on hydrofracking that he would be guided by science and safety, and that the advancement of hydrofracking would not come at the expense of our State’s irreplaceable natural resources,” the Queens Democrat said. “He has lived up to his word and not succumbed to political pressure and artificial timetables. I applaud him for that.”
“It should be noted that the Governor and his environmental and energy resources team are trying to do what has not been accomplished – or even attempted – in other states that have permitted hydrofracking: to regulate hydrofracking such that the gas companies bear the full cost of production of their product, and not have their product “subsidized” by the degradation of the State’s water, air and land resources. Such resources, of course, belong to the current and future generations of New Yorkers, and do not exist merely to increase the gas companies’ bottom line.”
“So I thank Governor Cuomo for being open to the economic, employment and energy benefits that would accrue from safely extracting natural gas from gas-bearing shale formations in New York State, but I am grateful that he has prioritized the health of New Yorkers and the long term protection of the State’s irreplaceable natural resources over a short term energy and economic boost from hydrofracking.”
Gennaro, who has a bachelors degree in geology and environmental science and chairs the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said as recently as March that Cuomo is “being ill-served by the people who are not being completely true to his good vision” on fracking. He also alluded to the the possibility of lawsuits if and when the DEC gives fracking the green light.
The councilman’s statement comes on the heels of Cuomo’s admission yesterday that there is no way an outside panel would be able to complete its review of the DOH’s public health assessment of fracking by the Nov. 29 deadline, which means there will be another round of public comments and this whole mess is all but certain to drag on into 2013.
One of the experts on the three-person panel told Gannett’s Jon Campbell today that the review should be completed by Dec. 3, though she has an agreement with the state that lasts through February.
Cuomo’s comments drew swift condemnation from fracking supporters, including a statewide landowners coalition, which called the missed Nov. 29 deadline a “breach of faith by our government,” and the New York Post condemned what it deemed ”Andrew’s latest dither.”
Gennaro’s statement, while unlikely to get much play the day before Thanksgiving, perhaps could provide the governor with some cover – at the very least, providing a response to those who are accusing him of stalling on a damned-if-he-does/damned-if-he-doesn’t issue.
Four years ago, Gennaro challenged then GOP-Sen. Frank Padavan and surprised everyone – including the Senate Democrats – by almost knocking the veteran incumbent from his seat. The recount dragged on for weeks, and Gennaro didn’t concede until early February.
He ultimately decided against running again, and his colleague, former Councilman Tony Avella, ended up running against Padavan in 2010 and winning. Avella recently said he’s mulling a run for Queens borough president in 2013, although perhaps he’ll reconsider if the Democrats manage to win back control of the majority.
Former Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who lost the three-way Democratic primary in NY-6 this June to his former colleague and now congresswoman-elect, Grace Meng, announced this week he intends to run for the Council seat Gennaro will be forced to give up at the end of next year due to term limits.
I guess it’s possible that Gennaro is trying to raise his profile in advance of another attempt at a state Senate run. Or maybe he’s just doing a favor for a fellow Queens native, (I’m speaking of Cuomo, of course).
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on November 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Downstate NY, Fracking, Queens, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|