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Source: Pressconnects.com

$3.6M spent on lobbying hydrofracking moratorium bills

Posted: April 8, 2011
Originally Published: April 8, 2011

Groups who lobbied on a pair of bills that would have placed a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing spent about $3.6 million on lobbying in Albany last year, according to a good-government group.

Those opposing the bills spent $2.87 million, while organizations in support of the legislation spent $725,643 in 2010, Common Cause/NY wrote in the latest version of an ongoing report, which was released Thursday.

The report analyzed two years' worth of lobbying reports, though many of the groups mentioned -- such as the state Business Council and Environmental Advocates of New York -- lobbied on a number of bills and topics in addition to the moratoriums.

Common Cause itself spent about $50,000 on lobbying in 2010 and supported the moratorium bills.

"There is a tremendous amount of public interest in this determination of how New York state is going to handle the challenge of hydrofracking, and there are strong feelings among the public among different groups," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY. "It is a real test of our government's ability to make a well-reasoned public policy determination, so I think it is particularly important for the public to know who is involved in trying to move the Legislature and the governor, and for the public to keep an eye on the situation to make sure decisions are made based on sound public policy."

Chesapeake Appalachia far outspent all other industry groups, racking up more than $1.2 million in lobbying expenses in 2010. That amount was fueled by $836,386 in advertising expenses during the first six months of the year, which dropped to $34,500 in the second half. The company was the 18th highest lobbying spender statewide in 2010, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group.

In July, a spokesman for Chesapeake said the advertising efforts were to spark an "education effort" aimed at protecting its investment and informing the public of the economic and job-creating benefits of gas drilling.

According to the report, the two top-spending groups supporting the moratoriums were Citizens Campaign for the Environment with $159,232 and Environmental Advocates of New York with $145,748.