Gov. David Paterson postponed it.

State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton wants to slow it down.

Sen. Thomas Libous is for speeding it up.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is torn between extremes.

Elected officials taking a position on Marcellus Shale development are facing strident demands from stakeholders who could become rich, go broke or possibly abandon hope, depending on Albany's response.

As a Dec. 31 public comment deadline approaches, the polarizing debate shows no sign of easing. Stakeholders continue to hold town hall meetings, sign petitions and write elected officials in an attempt to make or break the multibillion-dollar gas industry's move to the Southern Tier.

"This is by far the most contentious issue that I've worked on since joining the state Assembly," said Lupardo, a third-term Democrat from Endwell. "I'm compelled to do everything possible to protect our environment, while recognizing the enormous economic potential of the Marcellus. I'm trying to be a moderating voice in this process."

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