High volume, hydraulic fracture drilling for natural gas may be on the fast track in New York if Republican Westchester County Executive, Rob Astornino becomes governor.

Astorino was the keynote speaker at the Broome County GOP Lincoln Day dinner February 28 in Binghamton.

Astorino has touted the job-creating potential connected with gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation.

During his address at the Binghamton gathering, which drew a record number of an estimated 400 attendees, Astorino said the drilling issue is key to economic growth in the Empire State.

Several anti-fracking protestors braved the cold to demonstrate outside the Double Tree Hotel, referring to Astorino as “Gas-torino” and claiming the Westchester Executive was trying to gain gas industry contributions for a possible run for New York governor.

Astorino had been expected to announce by the end of February if he was going to launch a run for Albany, but now says he will have a decision in the next few days.