Sen. Krueger to GOP: Why Not Hold Gas Companies Accountable for Fracking Disasters?

Albany, NY – State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) today offered an amendment on the floor to specifically hold companies and individuals responsible for environmental damage resulting from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction. The amendment was proposed to S.702, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Robach (R-Greece), which would make environmental damage of property a crime in New York State when the damage was caused during the commission of another felony.

“If these gas drilling companies want to come into our state, drill holes, and pump chemicals into the ground underneath our farmland, our forests, and our homes, they must be accountable for the results,” said Sen. Krueger. “I don’t believe we should allow hydrofracking in New York State, but even those who believe the benefits outweigh the dangers should agree that anyone who irresponsibly harms our environment while hydrofracking must be held responsible under both criminal and civil law.”

Under the amendment, dumping hydraulic fracturing chemicals into surface waters in New York State would be a crime. Covering up or concealing spills or unauthorized dumping of fracking chemicals would also be a crime. In addition, civil penalties for harm caused by hydrofracking would be increased.

“The science shows that fracking won’t simply bring dollars into our state with no strings attached – it will bring disasters,” said Sen. Krueger. “If we aren’t willing to hold drillers responsible for the environmental damage and human suffering they could create, then it would be insane to allow fracking in New York at all.”The Senate’s Republican majority blocked consideration of the amendment. “People in every corner of the state are deeply concerned about the dangers of hydrofracking, and today the Senate could have addressed those concerns,” said Senator Krueger. “Once again the Republican majority has failed to protect New York’s citizens."