New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo says her concern that not enough has been done to study the potential health impacts of fracking helped change her vote to favor a moratorium on the controversial gas drilling technique.
Lupardo voted in favor of the 2 year delay that passed the Assembly Wednesday, although she disagrees with its arbitrary duration. 2 years ago, the Democrat voted against a similar moratorium saying, at the time, that the DEC should finish its regulations before lawmakers got involved. But Lupardo says she's grown dissatisfied with the lack of transparency being provided by the Department of Health with regard to its review of the DEC regs.
Lupardo says, "I've been talking about doing health impact studies for a long time as a member of the advisory board. Not just health impacts for water and air, but also health impacts for urban districts like mine."
Lupardo says county health officials have expressed concerns related to crime, homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases that could accompany a large influx of natural gas workers.
Over on the Senate side, Republican Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous, a supporter of safe drilling, says he'll use his clout to keep a fracking moratorium from coming to a vote in his chamber. Libous says, "Why, for any reason, do we need outside information on hydrofracking? And why set a moratorium to give outside agencies time to give us their opinion? I don't believe we need that. I have great confidence and trust in the DEC and the Health Department."
A member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Caucus, which shares power with the Republicans, has introduced a moratorium bill in the Senate.