State Assembly passes extended fracking moratorium

The New York State Assembly voted 91 to 46 yesterday to pass a bill that would ban the state from issuing any permits for hydraulic fracturing until June 1, 2012, the Albany Times Union reports:

Arguing that the state needs more time to assess the potential effects of the natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking, the state Assembly on Monday passed a moratorium on the issuance of new permits until June 1, 2012.

The bill won't  necessarily become law, however -- the state Senate has to approve it, as does Governor Andrew Cuomo.

We've been here before. Last year, a similar moratorium was passed by both houses but was then vetoed by then-Governor David Paterson. Paterson then issued his own de-facto ban on issuing new permits before the state Department of Environmental Conservation comes out with its long-awaited regulations for fracking. Those regs are now expected to appear on July 1.

Brad Gill, the executive director of the New York branch of the Independent OIl & Gas Association, condemned the Assembly's new moratorium yesterday:

“Some legislators misunderstand the process to extract oil and natural gas and the regulations that serve to protect the public and the environment,” said Brad Gill, IOGA of NY executive director. “As a result, they are considering legislation that will harm 400 companies and threaten the jobs of 4,500 current industry employees.”