Howie Hawkins Statement on Cuomo's Support of Hydrofracking

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Statement of Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Governor, on Cuomo's Position on Hydrofracking in his Environmental Position Paper

Andrew Cuomo's statement on the issue of hydrofracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is even more vague and convoluted than his other position papers, designed as always to avoid making any hard decision. However, it is clear that Mr. Cuomo is not opposed to hydrofracking, stating merely that its "development needs to be highly sensitive to environmental concerns. We must however explore how drilling can be done in a way that is consistent with environmental concerns." Cuomo also highlights what he considers the potential economic and energy supply benefits of hydrofracking for natural gas.

In recent statements that Mr. Cuomo and his staff provided to the organizers of the debate on hydrofracking at Nottingham High School in response to their initial question and follow-up question on "his exact position on a two year moratorium," he never stated that he supports a two year moratorium, the time expected for the EPA study to be completed. He only stated he "supports the current process underway through DEC, which has an associate moratorium," which will be completed in six months.

We must have a permanent ban, not a temporary moratorium, on hydrofracking.

Cuomo and the Democrats are holding out the prospect of a hydrofracking moratorium just to get through the election with the environmentalists in their hip pocket. Then they are going ignore the environmentalists, approve DEC hydrofracking regs in the spring, and by next summer it's going to be “Drill, Baby, Drill,” which will inevitably mean “Spill, Baby, Spill.”

Hydrofracking will turn upstate New York into an industrial wasteland of drilling rigs, pipelines and compressor stations, storage ponds for toxic flow back water, and polluted ground water and aquifers. It will destroy our abundant clean water resources, which is the key asset we have for attracting people and businesses back to New York. With global warming inducing drought, depleting aquifers, and deadly heat waves and weather in the Southwest, Plains States, and Deep South, New York's water resources should be protected and utilized wisely for a sustainable green prosperity in the years ahead.

Natural gas is also a grave threat to our climate. Gas is just another dirty fossil fuel whose greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate global warming. It is not a bridge to the renewable future as the gas industry claims. That bridge is out and if we take that road we will go over the cliff into climate catastrophe. We don't have the precious time to waste on a decade of natural gas dependence. If we do that, it will be too late to turn to renewables to stop runaway global warming.

We must ban hydrofracking like we did DDT, overland SST (supersonic air transport), ozone depleting refrigerants, and other environmentally destructive products and processes. We must ban hydrofracking before it starts in New York State and focus on building energy efficiency, renewable energy, a smart grid for distributed generation and net metering, mass transit, and all the other necessary elements of a clean energy system. Our goal should be net-zero carbon emissions in New York by 2020. Just as New York led the nation in initiating the New Deal in New York in 1931, New York must again lead with a Green New Deal to lead the nation and the world in putting people back to work building an energy system that promotes climate stability.

That Green New Deal should be our moral equivalent of war. We need to turn on a dime like we did with the World War II mobilization and turned our auto industry into the Arsenal for Democracy. Now we need to apply the same sense of urgency and commitment of resources to the clean energy transition.

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