During a talk at Hamilton College in upstate New York Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded recent reports that U.S. oil and gas production will soon outstrip Russian production.

“What that means for viable manufacturing and industrialization in this country is enormous,” Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential  front runner for 2016, told the crowd.

Her remarks were considered important, coming during a hot debate about whether New York State will allow fracking to extract oil and gas from the giant Marcellus Shale formation that stretches across part of the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is under pressure to allow hydraulic fracturing to create jobs and help industry. Environmentalists oppose fracking, which they say pollutes groundwater with chemicals used in the process, and can destabilize formations and cause mini earthquakes.

Proposals for regulating fracking have been in the works in New York for five years.

Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was expected to release proposed state-wide rules earlier this year but it didn’t happen.

Two New York courts have already upheld local fracking bans. It’s unclear if state-wide rules will pre-empt the local ordinances.


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