At a City & State panel discussion yesterday, Rep. Paul Tonko, a former engineer and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said he was in favor of hydraulic fracturing as long as it did not compromise what he sees as the next frontier for clean and renewable energy—the state’s water supply. “I believe, like many, that we’re going to transition from an oil economy to a water-based economy,” Tonko said. “If that’s the case, if that happens in the next 10 to 20 years, New York State is poised for tremendous potential. We’re the link between a great ocean and the great lakes, the largest compilation of fresh water bodies in the world. There’s a way to move forward scientifically to make certain that we protect a very precious commodity that allows us great strength into the future.”
Tonko added that the most important component of protecting the water supply would be to develop a resource pool that communities could use to retrofit their water treatment facilities with the appropriate technology. In the meantime, he said the state should move forward with fracking only with regulations put into place and with “science taken into mind,” echoing comments Governor Andrew Cuomo made last week regarding the timetable of a comprehensive review on fracking.