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When Politics Hits Reality

J. Mijin Cha
The Huffington Post

In politics, there inevitably comes the dreaded time when politics and politicking run into reality. It is the point at which you can no longer appease two opposing parties and a decision must be made that chooses one party's interests over the other. I imagine politicians hate this moment because it shows their true character, for better or worse.

This time has come for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and for President Obama. Governor Cuomo has tried to walk the line between natural gas interests, who want to open the state to fracking, and anti-fracking advocates who want to keep New York free from the practice. Earlier this year, Cuomo extended the state's moratorium on fracking in order to study its health impacts. Then, word leaked out that Cuomo was considering allowing limited fracking in the state and now, it seems the whole rule-making process may have to start over due to the Department of Environmental Conservation missing a deadline.

What Cuomo is coming up against is the uncomfortable reality that there is no middle ground on fracking. As soon as he allows any fracking in the state, all the negative environmental and economic consequences that accompany the practice will be realized. The thing about pollution is that it refuses to remain stationary. Pollutants in ground water systems tend to migrate to other areas, causing an impact zone that reaches beyond the immediate area. Worse, limiting it to a certain part of the state dooms those residents to bear the burdens of fracking so that the rest of us can reap the benefits.