First, the Patterson Republican held a conference call with Assemblyman Robert Castelli, R-Golden’s Bridge, to push a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. (Hydrofracking is the much-debated technique used with gas drilling that is currently on hold in the state.)
The bill, which Ball said is currently being drafted with Assembly EnCon Chair Robert Sweeney, a Democrat, is sure to gain the support of the heavy Democratic majority in the Assembly, but will be a much tougher sell in the Republican-held Senate. The Senate’s second-ranking member, Tom Libous of Binghamton, has been an outspoken advocate of hydrofracking and drilling, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has pledged support as well. (Skelos, as minority leader in 2010, voted in favor of a six-month moratorium on hydrofracking.)
If nothing else, the push shows how split the Legislature is on hydrofracking. Democrats in both houses are generally opposed, but feelings are mixed in the Senate Republican majority.
Shortly after the conference call ended, Ball’s office sent out another statement blasting Rep. Nan Hayworth, the freshman Mt. Kisco Republican. Ball has taken several shots at Hayworth in recent months, fueling speculation that he may be gearing up for a primary challenge in 2012 (Speculation that, to this point, Ball hasn’t denied).
Ball took issue with yesterday’s House of Representatives vote against a short-term extension of the federal payroll tax cut and job benefits, with House Republicans they want a longer, one-year extension, instead.
“From a political perspective, I appreciate their efforts to extend these measures for a full year, but a two-month extension is an immediate necessity and one that should not be aborted due to dogma or political ideology,” Ball said in a statement. “Along with some of her colleagues, the Congresswoman seems to be completely out of touch with working families and struggling small businesses.”
One thing Ball didn’t want to talk about today? His Facebook flap with the wife of Assemblyman Steve Katz, a fellow Patterson Republican. When asked on the conference call if he had any comment, Ball declined.
“Next question,” he said.