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On Capital Tonight, YNN

Speaking at Fort Drum today to promote the ReEnergy Coal Plant today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tied expanding the state’s energy options to growing the economy.

Cuomo ostensibly was answering a question on whether communities should have the option of not allowing renewable energy projects in their municipalities such as wind power.

The governor agreed that “home rule” was an essential fact of life for local governments here in New York, but said there has to be a “balance.”

There also has to be a reasonableness, because we have to remember at the end of the day we need power. We need power. At what point if you’re not constructing power plants or renewable plants or designing a portfolio or siting anything, you can’t power an economy. So you can’t say no to wind and no to solar and no to biomass and no to power plants and then say I want jobs and I want a thriving economy. That’s the balance we have to reach.

Of course, Cuomo did not mention the word “fracking” at all in his question-and-answer session with reporters — he was taking solely about renewable fuels.

While on the surface it’s a bit ho-hum, it’s a significant quote given Fred LeBrun’s scoop today that the state is on the verge of publishing a plan that would allow very limited hydrofracking. Proponents of using the controversial natural-gas extraction process argue that such a move would be beneficial to New York, especially the state’s Southern Tier.

Opponents say allowing high-volume fracking would do irreperable damage to the area water table and human health.

It’s an emotional debate for both sides. The governor, no friend of emotional rhetoric that pushes him to do one thing or the other, has tried to at least publicly turn the temperature done a bit, especially since the issue could very well be the defining note of the second half of his first term.

But should fracking be allowed even on a limited basis, the “balance” argument from Cuomo like the one above could be heard frequently.

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