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Libous, Skelos say drilling In Southern Tier would help economy

3:08 PM, Jun. 13, 2012 |

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Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his deputy Thomas Libous praised a potential move forward by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow limited hydraulic fracturing in the Southern Tier, saying the drilling would be a boon for the region.

“I think for the Southern Tier of the state, this is a huge potential job creator. If DEC comes out and says it can be done safely, I think we should do it,” Skelos, R-Nassau County, said in an interview today with Gannett’s Albany Bureau.

Skelos said attempts for a hydrofracking moratorium ban would not be approved in the Senate, despite calls for it by Democrats and even some Republicans, including Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County.

“That’s what the DEC study is about,” Skelos said.

Libous, R-Binghamton, has been a major proponent of fracking, and his district is in the heart of the Marcellus Shale, the gas-rich rock formation. Gannett’s Albany Bureau quoted Libous in April saying that the state might target areas of the state in support of hydrofracking, which the New York Times reported Wednesday is being pursued by the Cuomo administration.

But Libous said today that he has concerns that if a town board doesn’t approve fracking, it would not go forward—even if landowners want it.

“It’s very positive. I’m excited about, but as I’ve said, I have 30,000 landowners and there may be towns in Broome, Tioga, Chenango counties that haven’t taken a formal vote,” Libous said of the latest developments. “That doesn’t mean we should discount the rights of those 30,000 landowners.”

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