ALBANY — The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Howard Zucker, the acting commissioner of health.
This "report" has been years in the making.
It doesn't take a cynic to see that Cuomo waited until after the November election to release it, since polls show that no matter what he decided to do on the issue, it was a lose-lose for him.
But I suspect that, after he won his re-election that was paid for by $47 million in campaign contributions from the wealthy and the connected but saw his numbers drop because of faltering support on the left, he decided the best political decision to make here was to ban fracking.
This way, he can appear "progressive" on the issue while still largely catering to the wealthy and connected with his economic policies, education policies, etc.
Just as he used the gay marriage and gun control issues to appear "progressive" in past years, he is using the fracking ban to look like a good liberal.
I'm sure behind the scenes he's assuring all those business interests who are disappointed with this decision that he'll make it up to them with tax cuts and other corporate giveaways.
In the end, I'm glad fracking will be banned in New York.
But the announcement, the way the report was handled, the Hamlet on the Hudson stuff Cuomo played on the issue for years - the cynic in me says there was nothing "scientific" about this decision at all (no matter what his acting health commissioner says.)
This was all about the politics and these days for Cuomo, that means trying to look liberal enough to be able to run for the White House as a Democrat even though his economic policies make him a better fit for the GOP.