Libous threatened over pro-gas stance

NORWICH – It’s getting ugly, but five years of non-stop tension between the two sides of the shale gas drilling debate was bound to boil over soon.

In an article in The New York Post yesterday, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous said he had received repeated threats of bodily harm and that environmental activists had launched personal and political threats against local officials throughout the Marcellus Shale rich Southern Tier.

The threats come as Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to be stalling once again about whether or not to open New York for the business of horizontal, high water volume hydraulic fracturing. The state environmental conservation department has been in the process of setting extraction oversight since 2008 when former Gov. David Paterson first put the brakes on to assure its safety. In December 2010, after reports of frack water spills and contaminated well water surfaced in other states, Cuomo enacted a moratorium for even further study.

The latest release mark for the new regulations, Labor Day, has come and gone. The administration defends its time-taking saying the final decision will be based on the science and the facts, and that a decision would be made before Election Day. But a political football it’s become. Senator Libous, a pro-business Republican, has long been a proponent of safe drilling. He told the Post: “There have been repeated threats to me of bodily harm. There have been calls saying, ‘We know where you live,’ ‘We’ll come to your house’ – that kind of stuff.”

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