Fifteen small towns in New York have threatened to secede from the state and join Pennsylvania in response to a state wide fracking ban signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last December.
The towns are concerned that the fracking ban will hurt local job markets and depress funding for local schools and governments.
All fifteen towns are located in the state’s Southern Tier that sits on a portion of the Marcellus Shale play.
“The Southern Tier is desolate. We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground, Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch told WBNG-TV last Wendesday.
The Upstate New York Towns Association, an organization that all fifteen towns belong to, is putting together a report to determine if the towns can join Pennsylvania.
Joining Pennsylvania would also lower business taxes and insurance payments in the towns.
The New York legislature, the Pennsylvania legislature and the federal government would all have to approve the secession.
Finch told the Huffington Post that a successful secession is “far-fetched” but added the proposal will shed much needed light on the economic and job issues facing upstate New York municipalities.
New York’s Senate Deputy Majority Coalition Leader Tim Libous has mailed out a survey to his constituents to gauge their opinion on the matter, WBNG-TV said.
“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.