Landowners say five years of moratorium too long

By Matt Porter

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 11:48 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Five years after the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York was enacted, local landowners and politicians say enough time has passed.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a pro-fracking organization, held a press conference in Binghamton asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to come to a decision on gas drilling.

The JLCNY said other states have approved hydro-fracking and New York should, too.

Local politicians at the rally said politics -- not science -- have delayed the profitable gas industry from coming into New York.

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston said most of New York wants gas drilling to begin as soon as possible.

"It's not about an election, it's about the people of New York state," Preston said. "It's about our farmers, it's about our taxes, and it's about us, the people you supposedly represent governor, and it's time you listen to us."

Sen. Thomas O'Mara, R-Big Flats, said some landowners can't keep their properties much longer and need relief.

"The frustration continues to build and the issue becomes more and more difficult to deal with. Gov. Cuomo, it's time to deal with this issue, and it's time to deal with it now," O'Mara said.

People opposed to fracking were outside the meeting to support the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Isaac Silberman-Gorn from Citizen Action, a progressive advocacy organization, said New York should take as much time as needed to finish its studies on the safety of gas drilling.

"Five years ago when Gov. (David) Paterson expressed real concern about fracking in terms of affecting our health and our water," Silberman-Gorn said, "And five years later, those issues are more serious than we could imagine."

The moratorium in New York will continue until the DEC and the state health department complete their reports on the safety of hydro-fracking.