Senate Majority Coalition", a wholly-Republican-owned-and-operated boondoggle that incorporates what is numerically the Democratic majority in the Senate. Don't ask.
The deal the Democrats made set Republican Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos as gatekeeper to the chamber. Only Skelos can bring a bill onto the Senate floor for a vote. Again, don't ask.
No surprise, then, given the Republican "pro business" cant, that a bill to slap a statewide moratorium on the controversial, high-risk gas drilling process known as "hydrofracking" or "fracking" is stuck under Skelos, as the Republicans push to open the state's methane-rich Marcellus Shale to industrial gas drilling.
Until now, the Senate Coalition has rationalized its inaction on the fracking moratorium bill by saying that it "trusts" the state's (woefully underfunded, understaffed and overworked) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to adequately regulate the (abundantly-funded and politically powerful) gas drilling industry in New York State.
But now, the Coalition, on a regulation-cutting tear, has introduced a bill, S3462-2013, touted as “regulatory reform", that would move the gas drilling regulatory process from DEC to the State Senate chamber.
Environmental advocacy organization Environmental Advocates of New York strongly opposes the bill, with EANY Executive Director Dave Gahl accusing the Senate Coalition leadership of "political hypocrisy" for withholding a vote on the fracking moratorium bill, based on the rationale that DEC should be trusted to write its own regulations, then trying to undermine the DEC's regulatory authority by moving the fracking regulatory process from the DEC to the State Senate.
According to EANY, the Coalition's power-grab was triggered by the DEC's refusal to cut clean water protections out of the regs.
Bold, Jeffrey Klein, Dean Skelos and Tom Libous, very bold indeed. But not every New Yorker is looking through the rose-colored economic development goggles you're wearing. The rest of us, who are waiting for an up-or-down vote on the fracking moratorium, oppose your attempt to push the DEC aside and invade the state's regulatory process.
Want to fight fracking? The anti-fracking lobby will convene for a statewide rally in Albany for a rally on June 17. Click here to buy a ticket on the bus leaving from Flatbush Avenue.
Don't let fracking do to New York what it's done to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Want more? Google "Fracking in Northeastern Pennsylvania."