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Elections

Hawkins: fracking industry is "winging it"

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins says the natural gas industry’s short-sighted attitude is not what New York needs. 

Hawkins recently visited a northern Pennsylvania region that’s experienced an energy rush using the drilling method known as fracking. Part of New York state sits on the same shale formation, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been hesitant to open the state up to extraction, over pressure from environmental advocates.

Rob Astorino, the Republican running for governor, says fracking would bring a major economic boom to the struggling Southern Tier.

Hawkins though, says fracking is not what needs to be brought to New York.

"I really got a sense that this is an industry winging it as it goes up in Pennsylvania, not really sticking strictly with the safety requirements and the consequences were devastating," he said to reporters on a conference call.

He said he's not trying to exploit the problems one region has had with fracking for political gain.

"There are a lot people out there and they’re anti-fracking and I think I’m their choice in this election and I expect to get a lot of votes from them," he said.

The U.S. is at a crossroads over an energy future, Hawkins said. He supports investment in renewable energy sources.

Hawkins first called for a statewide ban on fracking in 2010, when he first ran for governor.