Rob Astorino calls fracking a "great economic opportunity"

Courtesy of Rob Astorino
July 16, 2014

New York Republican candidate Rob Astorino and his running mate Christopher Moss were in Owego yesterday, speaking to a group of about 200 pro-fracking supporters.

Astorino delivered his stump speech flanked by American flags and signs that read “Natural Gas Now” and “Give our Families a Future.”

The Westchester County executive has faced an uphill battle for name recognition against Governor Cuomo. But in the Southern Tier, he may find support among landowners who have signed leases with natural gas companies and are waiting for the state to approve hydrofracking.

Astorino has visited the Southern Tier several times already, and his running mate, Moss, is the Chemung County Sheriff. During his speech, Astorino criticized the governor for taking away what he called a great economic opportunity.

“And yet as the Southern Tier and Upstate New York continues to decline, as people continue to leave this state for better opportunities, for hope, we have something that can turn us around.”

Astorino’s visits to this part of upstate have also been attracting anti-fracking activists, and Tuesday night was no different. About 30 people stood across the road holding anti-fracking signs until the candidate arrived.

Isaac Silberman-Gorn is a Binghamton-based organizer with Citizen Action of New York. Silberman-Gorn says, while Astorino trails by a wide margin in the polls, he’s still a worthwhile target for protests.

“He’s done five or six press events already, in Vestal and Elmira-Corning area and in the City of Binghamton to promote fracking. So he’s made himself a de facto spokesperson for the gas industry.”

Astorino’s visit to the Southern Tier continues Wednesday, with stops planned in Elmira, Binghamton, Watkins Glen and Wellsburg, and he’ll end the day at New York’s natural gas industry association conference.