In the end, both the timing and the result of the SGEIS environmental process are controlled by the Governor. Gannett’s Jon Campbell reports in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (based on an interview that Cuomo gave on WGDJ, an Albany radio station) that the Governor may be ready to decide.

“We don’t have a hard date, but it will be done shortly,” Cuomo said… Cuomo said he believes it’s beneficial to make a final determination on hydrofracking when lawmakers aren’t at the Capitol. The 2012 legislative session just wrapped up Thursday, and lawmakers aren’t scheduled to return until 2013, though many expect to return before then.

“I think it’s actually better that we do it when the Legislature is not here, because I don’t want a political discussion,” Cuomo said. “You have enough emotion around this issue already. You have emotion on both sides; you have emotion that is at such a level in some ways it’s governing the conversation.”
He continued: “I want to get the conversation back to facts and logic and science and information, and reduce the temperature of the conversation, pardon the pun.”
Responding to these comments, Senator Tony Avella, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate to ban hydrofracking in New York State, agreed that decisions should be based on science.  Capitol Confidential printed his statement:
I completely agree with Governor Cuomo’s comments today that with the potential release of the State’s report on hydrofracking that the focus of the debate should be on the ‘science.’  I believe that once the Governor takes a good look at the science involved in hydrofracking he will see that the science clearly shows that hydrofracking is an extremely dangerous drilling practice.

That is why I have urged the Governor to conduct health and seismological studies before any drilling is allowed.  At the very least, there needs to be a real plan to deal with the hazardous waste water created by this practice.  I have urged the Governor to support legislation that I introduced (S.4616) in the Senate that would require hazardous wastes produced from oil and natural gas activities to be subject to the requirements for treatment of hazardous wastes.

The Governor is right, this is not a political battle.  It is a battle to protect the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers.  Once these studies are conducted, it will be readily apparent that the science is on our side to ban hydrofracking in our State.

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