September 28, 2011

Over to you, Andrew

Posted in: Editorials — by m2admin at 9:54 am

Even before state officials last July urged Albany to allow fracking in New York, the case for it was compelling. But the columns on the opposite page, and one in yesterday’s Post, show how it can help real people — beyond just the numbers.

And they make clear why Gov. Cuomo needs to move fast to ensure its final OK — and, at long last, offer folks Upstate some grounds for hope.

Karen Moreau vividly illustrated in yesterday’s Post the economic boom in Pennsylvania that’s been triggered by fracking — a process for extracting natural gas from rock formations deep underground.

Residents both there and  in New York movingly described how it turned their lives around.

“My son Rich was able to come back to the farm [to work] because of this,” Jim Van Blarcom said, noting the royalties and fees he’s gotten from drillers in Pennsylvania.

Greg Zyla, a publisher in Towanda, called the area “a cocoon of prosperity” amid national economic stagnation.

Corey Mesko, 24, who lost his job in 2009 and now works on a drilling rig, said, “Everything has changed.”

He’s almost paid off his college debt and now sees “a stable future.”

On the New York side, by contrast, folks like Jennifer Huntington struggle.

Huntington, a dairy farmer, leased land for a well, which doesn’t even require fracking.

But her town banned drilling altogether.

Indeed, New York’s Southern Tier has been an economic desert for years. Yet a Department of Environmental Conservation study found all that could change if Albany sounded the all-clear for fracking.

(Think: $2.5 billion in yearly wages and 55,000 new jobs, for starters.)

Still, not all New Yorkers are convinced.

Siena College poll yesterday said more folks support it — but only by a 44 percent to 40 percent margin.

And the critics have loud voices.

Which is where Cuomo comes in.

He needs to stand up to the enviros and see that New York welcomes the industry.

As The Post’s Fredric U. Dicker notes, fracking — and the thousands of jobs it can spur — could be a huge political boon for the governor.

More important, though, is its economic promise.

Time to get cracking on fracking.