Make a Fracking Decision

Last May, Governor Andrew Cuomo promised that he would make a decision on whether to allow fracking in New York by the beginning of 2014.

A quick check of the calendar suggests that the governor‘s long-awaited decision has passed its due date.

Mr. Cuomo’s decision is expected any minute now (although we’ve heard that one before). And with any luck, he’ll put aside the posturing and protests of fracking opponents and put his administration on the side of economic growth and energy independence. It would be the right move for the state and for the nation.

Fracking, or, to be more scientific, hydraulic fracturing, is designed to exploit reserves of natural gas. Some of those reserves happen to be upstate, a region that has not known prolonged prosperity since the Johnson administration—Andrew Johnson.

Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but for some upstaters, it no doubt seems true. Nothing has replaced the manufacturing jobs that once were the heart and soul of the upstate economy. Fracking will create a new, cutting-edge industry that could create an economic boom in a part of the state that deserves a better fate.

New York has been painfully slow to take advantage of this promising technology. The European Commission, which functions as the European Union’s executive department, is preparing to welcome frackers with open arms, according to reports in the European press. That’s not to say the European Parliament will go along, but it is evidence that some Europeans realize the job-creating potential of fracking. (There’s more about this here.) 

Anti-frackers are loud, well-organized and anything but shy: They disrupted a Cuomo fundraiser last year and were a conspicuous presence at the governor’s State of the State address. In an election year, they will not forgive Mr. Cuomo if he supports economic growth and energy independence.

But the governor will reap electoral rewards from a larger growth: New Yorkers who see fracking as a safe, smart way to exploit the energy resources that lay beneath us.