City Hall: Legislators In Albany And New York Float Hydrofracking Bills

Thomas K. Duane

March 03, 2010

By Andre Tartar

Gov. David Paterson has made clear that he will wait for the state Department of Conservation to finish studying the risks of the proposal before making any final decisions on drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

That could take months, however, and several state legislators who fear the drilling could contaminate New York City’s water supply say they are not content to let the process drag out any longer.

They are pushing a set of bills that would either impose tight regulations on the drilling or possibly kill the Marcellus Shale proposal altogether.

State Sen. Tom Duane and Assembly Member James Brennan have introduced two bills that would prohibit any permits for oil or gas drilling from being issued for two years, prohibit drilling within five miles of the New York City water supply and ban drilling anywhere within the Delaware River watershed.

Duane said that he sees no current justification for hydrofracking, the controversial drilling method that extracts oil by propelling liquid deep into rocks, that has been proposed for the Marcellus Shale project.

“There is no safe hydrofracking technology,” Duane said. “Maybe someday, but certainly not now.”

The natural gas industry believes these bills are so onerous that, if passed, they would essentially stop the project in its tracks.

“If the goal is to chase industry out of New York, this over-legislating will do the trick,” said Jim Smith, of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York State.

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