Record: State senator ended stake in firm eyeing fracking

ALBANY (AP) -- Sen. Thomas Libous on Thursday released a 2008 document that states he ended his personal financial interest in a real estate firm before it speculated in land purchases to benefit from drilling now being debated in Albany.

Libous provided the document to The Associated Press after published reports said he was part of a real estate firm that is buying Southern Tier property, which could significantly increase in value if hydraulic fracturing for gas is approved.

Libous is a Southern Tier Republican leading the effort to allow drilling, arguing it would be a major source of new jobs and economic boon for the state, but environmental groups say fracking threatens public health.

"I strongly support hydro-fracking because it would bring jobs, growth and hope to thousands in our region," Libous told The AP. "Not because I stand to gain even a nickel from it."

Fracking is a drilling process that frees gas from deep rock deposits by injecting wells with chemical-laced water at high pressure.

Libous said he doesn't own any land in New York that is "under contract or that could generate earnings from hydro-fracking."