Cornell places moratorium on consideration of natural gas drilling leases

The following statement was issued to today by Cornell Vice President for University Communications Tommy Bruce:

Cornell University has a proud history of research, teaching and campus stewardship focused on reducing its environmental footprint, most notable recently through its: building of a new Waste Management Facility at the College of Veterinary Medicine; implementing a Climate Action Plan approved by our Board of Trustees; achieving LEED certified housing for students on West Campus; and the inauguration of a Combined Heat and Power facility at its central heating plant. Cornell remains committed to responsible stewardship and the protection of the environment.

Recently there has been speculation about the university's intentions regarding the leasing of its property for natural gas drilling. The university is not considering such leasing, and furthermore, we are announcing a moratorium on any such consideration until federal or state guidelines on natural gas drilling are established that conform to the high environmental standards the university holds for stewardship of its property. The university will not agree to a process that we believe might constitute a threat to the environmental integrity of our property or that might adversely affect the quality of life of people living in the areas that would be impacted by such a process.

President David Skorton has asked Provost Kent Fuchs to establish an advisory committee, composed of faculty, students and staff, to investigate these issues and advise the senior administration on decisions it may be called upon to make regarding this matter.