Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief, New York State Public Radio

Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio.

Karen DeWitt reports for a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. 

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York NOW. She appears on the reporter's roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women's Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

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Karen DeWitt/WXXI

The Republican Senate candidate challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Wendy Long, is urging swift action on hydrofracking in New York.

Wendy Long says the announcement by the US Geological Survey that the Utica Shale deposit, which lies below the Marcellus Shale,  is even larger than predicted, should mean even more jobs for New Yorkers, and she urged her opponent in the race, Gillibrand, to be more supportive of fracking.

In the past ten days, Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation has taken two significant steps that are likely to push off any permits for natural gas drilling into at least the New Year.  First, after months of resisting the idea, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced  that Cuomo’s health department would undertake a health impact review, based on data collected by his agency, before a  much anticipated environmental impact assessment would be finished.   

Governor Cuomo says he supports his Administration’s internal health review on hydrofracking in New York, and he says it could even hasten the gas drilling process in the state, should fracking ultimately be approved.

Governor Cuomo says he supports his environmental commissioner’s decision not to launch an independent health study, and to instead have the administration’s health department review new health assessment data compiled by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Cuomo says he agrees with  Commissioner Joe Martens that the government agencies are the most “objective” reviewers.

“Government is the independent, objective reviewer,” said Cuomo, who says “it makes no sense” to go to a private firm that may have an opinion or an economic interest.

Governor Cuomo’s environmental commissioner is rejecting calls by environmentalists for an independent health impact study on hydrofracking.

But Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens says the state’s health commissioner has agreed to conduct a review.

He issued a statement late today that reads in part:

Government is the public’s independent reviewer. To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong. Many experts in this field have an opinion - pro or con - which could influence the process. Nor could one ever be sure that there weren’t potential conflicts of interest with outside consultants if they were to actually direct the outcome.

Marie Cusick/Innovation Trail

WXXI's Capital correspondent Karen DeWitt reports on a new poll on levels of support for hydrofracking:

The natural gas industry sees hopeful signs in a new poll that finds more New Yorkers now support hydrofracking. A Quinnipiac University survey also finds upstaters, who live where the gas drilling process would occur, back fracking in greater numbers.

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