Scattered Clouds 31° Good Evening
Scattered Clouds 31° Good Evening
Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Cuomo adminstration to Legislature: No time table on fracking study

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracruse) at the state

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracruse) at the state Capitol on Jan. 14, 2013. Photo Credit: AP

In an unusually pointed exchange, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s health commissioner refused to provide lawmakers even a ballpark estimate of when he expects to complete a study on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

“You must have an estimate, you are a researcher,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman John DeFranciso (R-Syracuse). “You must have some time frame as to when you might have enough information .?.?. just a ballpark?”

Dr. Nirav Shah said at Monday’s legislative budget hearing that he’s gotten into trouble before for giving estimates about when he could complete a study on whether New York should expand gas drilling.

DeFranciso agreed, reminding Shah that a year ago Shah said his public health study to Cuomo was expected within weeks.

Cuomo has been dogged by protesters from both sides seeking a decision on the issue that was first tabled five years ago by former Gov. David Paterson.

Now Republicans are trying to shape the delay as a poor reflection on Cuomo’s leadership on a politically difficult issue. Read about it at

“We are sifting through it,” Shah told DeFrancisco of his review of voluminous health studies. “It’s not in the near future where I can predict it.”

“Somehow I expected that answer,” DeFrancisco said.

Other lawmakers, including Assemb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), also pressed Shah. She entered into the hearing record 150 peer-reviewed health studies that she said were done in 2013 and show numerous reviews have already been completed. Her action was applauded by some of the demonstrators in the hearing room.

“I don’t know if the one definitive study on health is going to come out tomorrow,” Shah told Rosenthal. He said the science and the industry’s technology is evolving fast and all sides will be able to critique his study when it’s released.

“So I don’t have a tipping point,” Shah said. His research “will be public at some point .?.?. when it is public, everyone will have an opportunity.”


Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.