Andrew Cuomo facing court battle with energy company over fracking moratorium
posted at 4:01 pm on December 8, 2013 by Jazz Shaw
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been in the news fairly often of late, and not just in his home state. The Democrat has been the frequent subject of some admittedly long-shot speculation over a 2016 presidential run if Hillary passes on the ticket. (Personally, I would find a Cuomo candidacy hilarious, not to mention good news for the GOP, when he tried to explain to the rest of the nation how he signed the NY Safe Act, one of the most restrictive and odious gun control laws in the nation.) When he was elected Governor of New York, he ran on a hazy platform when it came to several controversial issues in the state, none more so than the question of fracking. Vowing to take an “honest look” at the situation, along with the already existing moratorium on the process, he promised that action would be taken one way or the other.
As it turned out, nothing could have been further from the truth. Cuomo has kicked the can down the road repeatedly, claiming he needed to wait for this or that scientific study or opinions from across the nation. Unfortunately for the private sector, some energy companies actually believed his original claims and invested in leases which may have proven fruitful had drilling begun. One company in particular paid a heavy price, and now they’re looking to hold him accountable.
Maybe the courts will finally force Gov. Cuomo to do something he should have done five years ago: make a decision one way or the other on fracking.
It never should have come to this. People elect governors to make decisions, not kick them down the road until elections (or presidential primaries) are safely passed.
But the governor continues to dither, and an energy company that has gone bankrupt while waiting says it’s going to sue unless the governor and his agencies release the environmental-impact statement the governor says will guide his decision yea or nay.
The company is Norse Energy, which has leased 130,000 acres for gas drilling upstate. Earlier this year, the Norwegian based company pulled the plug on its New York operations, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company says it lost $30 million here because its leases became all but worthless once the governor started delaying.
So Norse has notified Albany that unless Environmental Protection Commissioner Joseph Martens announces within two weeks when its long-overdue fracking review will be finished, it’s prepared to take the matter to court.
There’s more to the story than just Norse losing money, of course. That’s bad news for one company. There are more in the same situation which simply haven’t reached such dire circumstances yet. But even more importantly, all of the jobs which would have come for New Yorkers from the development of these resources never arrived. This has led to the continued trend of the upstate counties above the Marcellus Shale deposits losing population, now to the point where the state has lost two congressional seats. The negative effects play out downstream from there, and yet we sit on our hands waiting for Cuomo to make a decision.
That’s some real leadership right there, friends. And this guy wants to be President.