President Trump, at a campaign stop in Upstate New York to support a Republican congresswoman seeking reelection, used his appearance as an opportunity to pillory Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his opposition to hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Shortly into a speech Monday backing Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Trump faulted Cuomo, who is seeking a third term, for passing on the opportunity to lower the state’s taxes, which are among the highest in the nation. The Cuomo administration enacted a statewide ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in June 2015.
“If they would have allowed a little bit of fracking and taken some of the richness out of the land,” taxes in the state would be lower, Trump reasoned. He opined that the oil and natural gas locked in New York’s portion of the Marcellus and Utica shales were “being sucked away by other states.”
“You look at what’s happened in Pennsylvania, with the money they’ve taken in. You look at what happened in Ohio with the money they’ve taken in. They’re fracking. They’re drilling a little bit. They’re creating jobs. And this place, it’s just so sad to see it. And we had the potential to do it better than anybody.”
Trump also asserted that New York’s oil and gas was “dissipating,” adding “that stuff flows, do you understand that? And all of a sudden someday you’re not going to have that underground maybe so much. And it’s a shame, because you could have had no taxes. You could have had the lowest taxes instead of the highest taxes. And it’s very sad to see what’s happened with New York.”
From the podium in Utica, NY, Trump told Tenney supporters that the city “could have been a boomtown” had HVHF moved forward. The city lies near the edge of the Utica Shale formation.
“This could have been Boomtown U.S.A.,” Trump said. “You have among the richest [formations] in the United States sitting under your land, and you don’t take it and other people are taking it, meaning other states are taking it.”
Cuomo enacted the HVHF ban after the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a report critical of the practice. The report, part of a final supplemental generic environmental impact statement on HVHF, was the culmination of nearly seven years of regulatory review by DEC.
Under Cuomo, the Empire State has been unfriendly terrain for the natural gas industry. Cuomo’s energy policies instead back renewables and efforts to combat climate change. Those policies have also blocked several natural gas pipelines from moving forward and hindered job creation.
Cuomo is considered a shoo-in for a third term. He faces actress Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13, and if successful would oppose Republican Marc Molinaro in the gubernatorial election on Nov. 6.