A divisive issue in New York state is driving a wedge between state leaders, and everyone is picking sides — including U.S. Rep. Bob Turner.
In a visit to the part of his district that touches Northeast Queens this week, Turner, R-Forest Hills, restated his belief that hydrofracking should play a part in New York’s job-creation plans.
Turner told Community Board 11 that the extraction of oil and natural gas through the process of hydraulic fracturing — in which high-pressure water jets break up stone and shale beneath the earth’s surface — should start as soon as possible in New York.
“Hydrofracking has been working very well in Pennsylvania,” Turner said. “I think if we employed the same policies in exploiting this gas, we would create a lot of jobs. I think that has to be priority number one.”
The process has been criticized, by state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and due to health, safety and environmental concerns.
CB 11 members said they were concerned about the prospects of hydrofracking in New York State.
“It causes harm to our underground aquifers,” said Henry Euler, who sits on the board’s environmental committee. “I disagree with Congressman Turner. There have been contamination problems in other states, including Pennsylvania.”
The board voted 31-1 in approval of sending a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that says there are “many unanswered questions” on the effects of the drilling process.
“I know we’re desperate for jobs,” CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said. “But if they want to drill here, I think we’d be playing Russian roulette with our water supply.”