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New York Assembly Passes Three-Year Fracking Moratorium; Bill Now Moves to Senate

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced that the Assembly passed a bill on June 16, 2014, that would impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for a period of three years.  The legislation, which passed by a vote of 96 to 37, calls for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to suspend issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing until 2017.  The bill’s memo indicates that the delay is necessary to provide the legislature with additional time to review the effects of hydraulic fracturing on public health and the environment, citing several ongoing national studies that are not expected to be finalized within the next three years.  “We do not need to rush into this.  The natural gas deposits within the Marcellus Shale are not going to go anywhere,” Silver said.  The Assembly passed similar legislation in 2013 that would have established a two-year moratorium, but that measure died in the Senate and was returned to the Assembly in January 2014.  Observers believe that the Senate is unlikely to act on the bill before the lawmakers adjourn for the summer.