Cuomo's Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing Will Perpetuate Rural Poverty

Catharine Young

December 17, 2014

For Release: Immediate, December 17, 2014

Statement from Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C- Olean) following todays announcement by Governor Cuomo:

Governor Cuomos decision to ban exploration of our natural gas resources is a punch in the gut to the Southern Tier. The governor has a moral obligation to explain to the people of our region how he will alleviate rural poverty. Families desperately need jobs and economic opportunity, not government handouts. Our young people are leaving in droves because they feel they don’t have a future here. Our rural communities are dying a slow, painful, poverty-stricken death and hope is scarce.

Recovering our abundant natural resources would have brought an economic boom not seen for more than 100 years. It would have brought good paying jobs, relief for our overburdened local taxpayers, tax revenue to improve our schools, funds to fix our local roads and bridges, and income for struggling farmers. I am already hearing from numerous local officials who are deeply upset by the Governor’s decision. With three of the counties I represent ranking among the 12 poorest in our state, today’s announcement only serves to highlight our continued economic struggle.

Thirty-two states across the nation, including California, Pennsylvania and Illinois are all safely conducting hydraulic fracturing. Leaders have given the practice bi-partisan support, with Governors Jerry Brown (D-California) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and independent organizations like the National Federation of Independent Business all supporting fracking of natural gas because of its positive economic impact.

Recent court decisions would have allowed local control with communities deciding for themselves whether to allow drilling, which is how it should be. Safeguards could have been put in place to protect water resources and people’s health. This truly is an opportunity lost.

Once again, Albany has forsaken rural New York. We urgently need hope and economic opportunity in the Southern Tier.