Environmentalists are celebrating after Governor Cuomo says there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process.
A reform group studied votes taken by local governments across the state on whether to allow hydrofracking, and found numerous potential conflicts of interest that they say could have tainted the outcome of the votes.
The New York Public Interest Research Group studied 59 municipalities that have voted to permit hydrofracking in the past few years, if New York State eventually approves the process. They found numerous questionable activities, including local elected officials holding gas leases and town attorneys who also represented oil and gas companies.
It’s looking less and less likely that state Senators and Assemblymembers will get a pay raise as a holiday present this year, but Governor Cuomo and lawmakers still have a number of issues they need to resolve before the year ends, ranging from the siting of gambling casinos to how to close a Thruway deficit and whether to go ahead with hydrofracking.
A state panel is examining whether workers whose income is supplemented by tips should receive an increase in the minimum wage. The wage board, appointed by Governor Cuomo, has held hearings and will make a decision early next year.
Governor Cuomo tamped down hopes for a special session of the legislature before the year ends, saying legislative leaders have still not agreed to ethics reforms that the governor is seeking. Cuomo says he also wants more time to develop a comprehensive criminal justice reform package.
The state’s lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, gave what was likely his last public address, at an awards ceremony for the regional economic development councils, where the retiring Duffy was praised by Governor Cuomo and others.