One day after saying it’s “inarguable” that “home rule” should be considered during the hydrofracking permitting process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today tweaked his statement a bit, calling it “relevant, but not necessarily determinative.”

Cuomo was asked about hydrofracking following a news conference today launching the state’s revamped traffic information website,

He was asked about the state’s plan for the controversial natural-gas extraction technique should the state Department of Environmental Conservation give it the green light. The DEC has been examining high-volume hydrofracking for the past four years and is expected to wrap up soon, with all permits on hold in the meantime.

“The last phrase is everything—‘contingent on DEC deciding that you should go ahead.’ What I said yesterday was, if DEC came out with a report saying we should go ahead, then I believe home rule is relevant,” Cuomo said.

He continued: “Home rule is one of the basic, essential elements of our democracy. If DEC said, you can do this, you can do it safely, we have the initial discussion and we’ve made the decision on the first fork in the road, then I believe home rule is relevant. Is it necessarily determinative? No. But is it relevant? Yes.”

Cuomo was then asked if—assuming the DEC allows the technique—he supports a floated plan to allow a limited number of permits in five counties near the Pennsylvania border, he declined to weigh in.

“I don’t really want to talk about if you get past the first ‘if,’ ‘because…’” he said. “Let’s have a discussion on the facts, because you could say, yes we’re going to go ahead, but DEC could say, yes but, with the following conditions.” (Side note: This was a very difficult quote to punctuate, but it should be more clear when you watch the video below.)


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