by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
In a surprise decision to many, Governor Cuomo has decided against hydrualic fracturing (fracking) in the state of New York. The decision has been approximately six years in the making, as detailed in our prior blogs dated November 13, 2013 entitled "Fracking Company Sues Homeowner With Flammable Water For Alleged Defamation," February 24, 2014 entitled "Governor Cuomo Sued To Compel Fracking In New York" and July 2, 2014 entitled "New York State's Highest Court Upholds Fracking Ban."
Governor Cuomo agreed with New York's acting Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, who concluded that fracking has a potential widespread negative impact, prospects that are uncertain at best and economic advantages which are now far lower that originally anticipated. Dr Zucker continued by saying that he considered the people of New York to be his patients and that "We cannot afford to make a mistake. The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not fully known." Governor Cuomo stated, "I think it's our responsibility to develop an alternative... for safe, clean economic development." Although it appears that Governor Cuomo intentionally delayed promulgating his decision until after the recent elections, it is welcomed decision by many, both parties alike.
Perhaps the prevailing factor in this decision was of an economic nature. Recently, Arab countries jointly decided against cutting oil production in order to drive the falling prices of oil upward. This decision, although uncharacteristic in nature, was a well thought out and clever decision. Fracking is an expensive process that reportedly cost an estimated $75 per barrel for oil to produce. Now that oil is just under $60 per barrel on the market, fracking is quickly becoming cost ineffective. If oil prices continue to fall, we will likely see many of the approximate 35 states that currently allow fracking, follow in New York State's path.
It would appear that the maxim "Half a loaf of bread is better than none," still rings true today. It unfortunately also appears to still ring true, that money is always the bottom line in all major governmental decisions. Fracking adversaries can at least seek comfort in the end result of governor cuomo's decision.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.