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Hawkins says he will attack Cuomo's stance on hydrofracking during debate

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO News File Photo

The controversial issue of hydrofracking will come up in Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate if Howie Hawkins has anything to do with it. The Green Party candidate will be on the stage in Buffalo with Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Republican Rob Astorino and Libertarian candidate Michael McDermott.

Hawkins, of Syracuse, says he’s still the only candidate on the ballot who supports a ban on hydrofracking. Hawkins goes further, suggesting that Cuomo is not genuinely opposed to the controversial method of extracting natural gas from underneath shale deposits in New York state.

"The most recent evidence that came to light was an effort to edit and delay a study that the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) commissioned from the U.S. Geological Survey on fracking," Hawkins said. "And that really blows up his whole argument on waiting for the science to come in before making a decision on fracking.”

Hawkins thinks he has more in common with Astorino than Cuomo when it comes to the controversial issue of hydrofracking.

“Cuomo has permitted fracking waste to come in to New York state from Pennsylvania," Hawkins explained. "Whereas Rob Astorino signed a law forbidding it from coming into Westchester County. And you look at the draft state energy plan, the centrality of gas is apparent. The whole plan is to make gas the central fuel, switching from coal.”

Hawkins wants a ban on hydrofracking and says the Green Party has an energy plan that would eliminate the need for natural gas.

"We got a better option," Hawkins said. "That’s to go to 100 percent clean energy in 2030. In the Solutions Project study that’s been out now for a couple years now, shows we would create 4.5 million jobs building that system out and it would cut electric rates in half. But I think the only thing preventing that move is the influence of the oil and gas industry on our state government.”

Hydrofracking pits environmentalists against business interests. The state has been studying the issue since a ban was put in place in 2008.
      
The debate will be aired on WRVO tonight at 9 p.m.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.