Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell encourages New York to drop its moratorium on drilling, while the former PaDEP Secretary calls the ban “stunningly hypocritical.”
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Gov. Cuomo and New York would be frackin’ “crazy” to continue its fracking ban.
That’s the message from former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat whose state has seen an economic boom from high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
“New York would be crazy not to lift the moratorium” imposed by former Gov. David Paterson in 2008, Rendell told The Post.
“I told Gov. Cuomo I would come to testify before any legislative committee,” Rendell added. “I told [Cuomo] it’s a good thing to do.”
Rendell’s strong pro-fracking comments are a coup for the drilling industry and for economically depressed upstate New York, which is clamoring for jobs.
The no-nonsense Rendell, a former head of the Democratic National Committee, has a lot of credibility on the issue.
Cuomo this week extended for 90 days yesterday’s deadline for adopting fracking regulations as experts study the potential public-health impact of fracturing shale with a high-pressure mix of chemicals, sand and water to capture trapped gas.
The move required Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation to issue revised proposed regulations, prompting anti-frackers to call that “outrageous” before the health review is completed.
But Rendell’s former environmental commissioner suggested it’s outrageous for New York to continue buying natural gas from other states without drilling for its own.
“I do find it stunningly hypocritical to buy gas that comes from fracking wells somewhere [else] in the US and then say fracking is bad,” said the former commissioner, John Hanger.
He argued that natural gas is less polluting than coal or oil.
“If you’re saying no to gas, you’re saying yes to more coal and oil,” he said.
He added that New York’s gas-rich but economically struggling upstate Southern Tier, which borders northeastern Pennsylvania, is “not Park Avenue. They can use every job they can get.”
Rendell noted he barred the dumping of fracking water into wells and imposed fracking-well fees to hire 100 additional environmental inspectors.
“The environmental harm can be significantly reduced or limited,” by putting safety regulations in place ahead of time, he said.
Cuomo’s office declined to comment yesterday, but the governor has said that he wants to let “facts and science” determine the state’s decision on fracking.
In the meantime, the state is paying one of its outside health experts $480 an hour to review New York’s tentative fracking regs, as first reported yesterday by Gannett News Service.
John Adgate, chairman of the Colorado School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, is one of three academic professionals the state tapped to review the plans. His pay would be capped at $12,000 under the contract, which runs to Feb. 13.