In more than a dozen states, a controversial form of natural gas drilling is underway that's known as fracking. The hydraulic fracturing process uses large amounts of sand, water and chemicals at high pressure to extract natural gas from underneath rock formations. Supporters say it's a safe way to obtain a fortune's worth of energy from beneath our feet, while opponents say there are too many environmental risks to our drinking water for it to be worthwhile.
Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has ducked the issue, which has divided upstate communities between those who are desperate for an economic savior and others who say it will pollute their water supply, as well as damaging New York City's watershed.
Complicating matters, the state's highest court yesterday ruled that localities have the ability to ban fracking in their backyards. It's a preemptive win for opponents because there's no fracking to be had in New York State as Cuomo plays energy Hamlet.
Running out the fracking clock is a politically smart thing to do by the governor, but it's hardly an act of leadership. With the court ruling issued and his re-election campaign underway, Cuomo should consider explaining why he thinks the process would provide a safe boost to the state's economy or if he believes the environmental risks are too high.