State GOP chairman Ed Cox plans to criticize Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a speech in Buffalo tonight over the governor’s failure to move forward with hydrofracking, saying that, “Pennsylvania is drinking our milkshake.”
But as Cox will to rip Cuomo, Cox has had d to defend his own interests in the natural-gas industry.
Cox confirmed to Gannett’s Albany Bureau that he and his wife, Tricia Nixon Cox, a daughter of late President Richard Nixon, have $2 million to $3 million in stock of Noble Energy, a Houston-based gas company. Cox also gets a six-figure fees on the company’s board, he told the Associated Press.
Instead he knocked Cuomo, who has yet to decide whether to proceed with drilling in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, which runs along the Southern Tier. The state has had a de facto moratorium in hydraulic fracturing since 2008.
“Upstate New York continues to bleed jobs, and the Southern Tier is merely getting a frustrating taste of “what might have been” from the spillover from Pennsylvania’s booming economy,” Cox says in his prepared remarks obtained by Gannett. Cox will give the speech at the Independent Oil & Gas Association’s annual conference.
“Pittsburgh prospers while Buffalo bleeds. To use the famous line from the movie ‘There Will be Blood,’ Pennsylvania is drinking our milkshake,” Cox continues. “And that’s because Governor Cuomo doesn’t have the political guts to permit the development of New York’s rich hydrocarbons.
Cox said he’s also a member of the Noble Energy’s health and safety committee and a member of the League of Conservation Voters, saying that fracking can be done safely in New York.
Fracking opponents aren’t buying Cox’s dual roles.
Julia Walsh, a spokesperson for Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking, said, “Gas industry insider Ed Cox is lying to New Yorkers about the dangers of fracking and denying the science, which shows that fracking poisons our water, pollutes the air and makes people sick.”
She added, “As a long-term board member of a gas corporation with significant fracking interests, it’s no surprise that Ed Cox is lobbying for the gas industry and denying the harm fracking would do to New Yorkers.”
But Cox said Cuomo’s refusal to move forward with fracking will be a major campaign issue next year when Cuomo seeks re-election. He charged that Cuomo has erred by not letting the state reap the economic benefits of fracking, saying the inaction is politically motivated. Cuomo has contended that the issue is still being studied by state agencies.
“By not ending the moratorium in the first months of his administration, Governor Cuomo made an economic, political and indeed geopolitical blunder,” Cox says in his speech.