Over the last decade, our country has undergone an energy transformation powered by the expanded implementation of hydraulic fracturing, which is better known as fracking. Fracking involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into geological formations in the earth to release oil and natural gas. The process allows oil and gas companies to access valuable and previously unreachable oil and gas reserves.

Fracking is not new, but recent technological advances have greatly increased its effectiveness. These technological breakthroughs are revolutionizing the American energy industry and allowing our nation to speed toward complete energy independence. The United States is now the world’s leading national gas producer, reducing our reliance on foreign powers such as Russia and Middle Eastern countries. The effect is bolstered national security and lowered domestic energy prices.

Not only has fracking improved America’s chances for energy independence but it has also provided an economic boon to a country struggling to escape the lingering effects of a recession. Millions of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue have been created from the fracking revolution.

According to a 2012 study by the research company IHS Global Insight, fracking supports an estimated 1.7 million U.S. jobs and will reach 3.5 million jobs by 2035. The Energy Information Administration notes that in the last year alone, Texas added over 19,000 private sector jobs related to oil and natural gas production. Additionally, a Purdue University study noted that fracking-related energy production has the potential to contribute an additional $473 billion a year to the U.S. economy.

Fracking has already transformed places like Williston, N.D., Cumberland Township, Pa., and Port Arthur, Texas, from dusty towns to booming economic powerhouses. Unfortunately, no New York towns can say the same. New York has similar energy resources, as it sits atop two large shale formations. However, for reasons varying from overregulation to political calculations, we have yet to tap in to our energy potential. Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to uphold a moratorium on fracking that has been in place in New York since 2008.

The time has come for Gov. Cuomo to open New York to fracking.

As with any practice that harnesses our natural resources, environmental concerns need to be evaluated. But so far, Gov. Cuomo has refused to discuss the future of the moratorium as he hides behind flawed evidence and the continuous and politically motivated delays of his health department tasked with issuing a safety review. Numerous scientific studies have shown that fracking is safe when done correctly and with the proper oversight.

While Gov. Cuomo and downstate New York bureaucrats delay, New York residents, especially Western New Yorkers, lose out on job opportunities, lower energy prices, and lucrative revenue streams. I will continue to pressure Gov. Cuomo to lift the fracking moratorium in New York, and look forward to New York becoming the next state to lead America’s energy resurgence.