Libous: New fracking moratorium won't see Senate vote

By Erika Mahoney

March 8, 2013 Updated Mar 9, 2013 at 1:38 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's now up to the New York Senate to decide if the Empire State will put an official halt to hydraulic fracturing for another two years.

One high ranking Senator says he will do everything he can to make sure that vote doesn't happen, and that a moratorium that's been in place since 2008 will end sooner rather than later.

State Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) says the decision shouldn't be made by politicians, but rather by science.

The Department of Environmental Conservation missed a deadline last month to have regulations in place because a study by the state health department wasn't finished.

Early this week the New York State Assembly passed a two-year moratorium to allow more time for review.

Libous says he has confidence in the state health department and the DEC to do a good job.

"You know, we depend on them for every health and environmental safety need we have in the state," Libous said. "There's no reason we can't depend on them for a determination on hydrofracking."

Once finalized, regulations would be subject to a 45-day review, which could include public hearings.

State Budget

Meanwhile, Libous is also speaking out on New York's budget proposal.

The senate's version is due Monday, and Libous wants to make sure a proposed cut to services for people with disabilities is restored.

Libous says he has spent his career helping people with disabilities, and that the proposed $120 million cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities would be "devastating."

"They affect every group home," Libous said. "They affect every family who has a disabled child or a disabled brother or sister, or a loved one. It's going to be a cut and a cut means less service, and we need to come up with ways to help our folks and loved ones with disabilities."

Libous says he has provided 10 different recommendations for moving money around in the budget to equal the expected $120 million cut.

Jobs Plan

With a busy week ahead, the Senate introduced a jobs plan Friday.

Libous says job creation is a top priority in New York.

"In our jobs plan, we have a number of tax breaks for businesses, we have a number of incentives (such as) hire veterans and get a tax break. We think that is very important."

Plan highlights include a tax cut for one million small businesses, tax relief for manufacturers, lower energy bills and funding to help start-ups.

Libous said legislators will be discussing the plan during the next few weeks with a goal of adoption before the end of the session.

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