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Resource ID: #25632
Subject: Oil
Source: Legislative Gazette
Date: 2012-07-02



Local government officials have been lobbying the state to the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking. But when they spoke at public hearings and pushed in other forums, were they just representing their communities, or did they have more at stake? In a four-month investigation, SUNY New Paltz students reviewed thousands of public records in two states. The investigation found more than 30 locally elected officials who have been outspoken proponents for fracking. Public records and additional examinations identified about 20 percent of those with more than political philosophy at stake — the chance to gain personally and financially. To open government advocates such as Common Cause, these instances raise concerns about transparency and conflicts of interest among locally elected officials. About six months after publication, and after further moves by local officials to press the state to approve fracking, the state attorney general has launched inquiries into whether local officials have violated conflicts of interest.

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