January 24, 2013
In Governor Cuomo's budget for 2013-2014, the Department of Environmental Conservation is looking at a budget cut of five and a half percent. What might this might mean if fracking comes to New York?
During an interview last week with public radio's Susan Arbetter, Governor Cuomo said money for additional staff at the DEC, before fracking is approved, isn't necessary.
"If we do it, we're going to have the money to pay the staff to do it right."
The proposed cuts released with the budget Tuesday amount to $53 million dollars less for the department. This comes after years of trimming at the DEC. Even without the loss of staff this year, the DEC has 23% fewer employees than it had 6 years ago and will be stretched thin no matter what decision is made on fracking, according to Riverkeeper's Kate Hudson.
"The agency is still incapable of moving forward with anything that would be so draining as bringing hydrofracking into New York."
Hudson was watching the budget for signs that fracking will be permitted in New York. There are none. That decision is expected in February, when the final environmental impact statement is due to be completed.
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