Lawmakers Approve Drilling Moratorium, Take No Action on Budget

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Despite not acting on the state’s budget deficit, New York lawmakers did find time in a special session Monday to formally approve a moratorium on natural gas drilling.
The measure, passed by the Senate in August and the Assembly Monday, would hold off on making a final decision on natural gas drilling until May. It now heads to Gov. Paterson for review.
Supporters of the bill say they want to give the Department of Environmental Conservation more time to examine the impacts of potential drilling. Opponents are afraid that the state is missing their chance at millions of dollars in revenue.
Lawmakers blamed Paterson for their decision to not address the state’s $315 million budget deficit, saying the governor did not give them a bill to discuss until two hours before the special session was to begin.
Republicans will be back in control of the State Senate in January. Dean Skelos will become the new majority leader with local Senator Tom Libous staying as the party’s second-in-command.

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