Fifteen towns in upstate New York have expressed interest in secession after the state banned fracking, according to an interest group researching the economic benefits of such a move.
The Upstate New York Towns Association said 15 towns expressed interest breaking away to join Pennsylvania, which allows fracking, according to television station WBNG. Although the group declined to name specific towns involved in the effort, WBNG reported the towns are located in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties.
Those counties are located in or near New York’s natural gas-rich Southern Tier, which borders Pennsylvania.
The secession seed apparently was planted by Conklin, N.Y. town supervisor Jim Finch (R) back in December when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a ban on the gas extraction technique. Conklin is part of the towns association.
“The Southern Tier is desolate,” Finch told WBNG. “We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground.”
New York state Sen. Majority Deputy Leader Tom Libous (R) also included a question on secession in a recent survey of his constituents.
“After the one-two punch to our community from the recent casino and gas drilling decisions, my office received many emails, phone calls and messages from constituents calling for a Southern Tier secession from New York State,” Libous said in a statement to WBNG. “While getting my constituents’ opinion on spending the $5 billion surplus was our top priority, I thought a question on secession should also be included in the survey.”
The towns association on Sunday said in a statement that it would consider the results of Libous’ survey as well as its own study comparing taxes and the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania versus in New York.
“With all this information, the Association will decide what action should be taken,” the statement read. “Options such as seceding to Pennsylvania, partitioning the state, as well as other options that may come up will be looked at.”