Polls find unexpected fracking support in NY and Pa.
Siena College said this week that a poll of 822 registered New York voters taken in late November found 50 percent of respondents in suburban areas support drilling in upstate portions of the state, while 32 percent are opposed. In New York City, 41 percent of those surveyed support upstate drilling, while 29 percent are opposed. The poll didn’t break out particular suburbs or upstate areas.
New York has had a moratorium on fracking since 2008, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suggested that it be allowed in five upstate counties near the Pennsylvania line, far from New York City, its watershed, or major suburbs. Pennsylvania officials from both political parties have embraced fracking, and more than 3,000 wells have been drilled there since 2007.
“Right now what we see is that downstaters, who would be the least affected from both the environmental and jobs point of view, are much more supportive than upstaters,” said Steven Greenberg of the Siena College Poll.
Sandra Steingraber, an anti-drilling activist who lives in Tompkins County, said upstate residents are more likely to be opposed because they’ve learned so much about the issue during four years of intense debate.
About 40 upstate communities in New York have passed bans on fracking, usually at the behest of opposition groups that have circulated petitions. There are movements under way in about 90 more communities to ban or enact moratoriums, but almost all are in towns outside the most likely drilling area near the border. Court challenges are pending against three of the bans with the industry arguing that only the state has authority to regulate gas drilling.Written by
Kevin Begos and Mary Esch