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By Ashley Tarr

If efforts by state Sen. Greg Ball (R, C — Patterson) and Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R — Goldens Bridge) are successful, a one-year suspension of fracking across the state will be in effect shortly.

During a press conference call Wednesday morning, both elected officials said the bipartisan effort they’re leading stems from a lack of sufficient funding for hydraulic fracturing and gas drilling in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget. Without financial backing, it’s impossible to secure the manpower and resources necessary to properly regulate the industry, Ball said.

“The DEC has taken steps towards allowing fracking to come into our backyard, so it’s now our responsibility to protect New Yorkers from the potentially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing,” Ball said in a press release. “Without the funding in place to protect property, health and financial well-being, oil and gas companies will continue to rake in profits while raking communities over the proverbial coals.”

He told reporters on Wednesday that after a recent trip to Pennsylvania, where he witnessed a “nightmare scenario” involving water contamination and more, he is aiming to have the legislation in place sometime next month.

Neither Ball nor Castelli named other elected officials involved in the push for a moratorium.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Ball said, adding that for many leaders, fracking is not a simple yes-or-no issue.

Castelli said he thinks the legislation would gain support in the State Assembly, and that if both houses are behind it, Cuomo may be, too.

“So far, the governor has proven to be pretty prudent in listening to people around him,” he said.

Ball is slated to give a presentation in Lewisboro at 7 p.m. for those who are hoping to learn more about fracking. To learn more about his position on the issue, check out this blog post from the state senator. (ARTICLE)