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Source: WRVO Oswego

Hydrofracking Moratorium Passes NY Assembly


Posted: December 1, 2010
Originally Published: December 1, 2010

OSWEGO, NY (WRVO) - A temporary ban on hydrofracking in New York State is headed to Governor David Paterson's desk. The bill passed the state Senate in August and the Assembly passed it in this week's special session.

Dereth Glance, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says they're thrilled by the vote for a "time-out" on fracking.

Glance said more than 36,000 people wrote to their elected officials and more than 85,000 signed petitions supporting the moratorium just through her organization's program.

And she says they are just one of many organizations that mobilized support for the temporary ban.

"Folks are very concerned about the rush to drill and use this new type of drilling, which is incredibly resource intensive and polluting," Glance says.

Gas producers want to use fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. The technique involves drilling horizontally as well as vertically, and injecting huge volumes of water and chemicals to force out the gas.

That's caused environmental problems in other states, but producers say it can be done safely here.

Glance says New Yorkers told their representatives, not so fast.

"This is where love canal was. We have Onondaga Lake here. We have some significantly contaminated areas," she says. "We want to learn from our neighbors, what mistakes have happened, and we don't need to pollute our environment anymore."

She says the state should use the "time-out" to assess the safety. She says the US Environmental Protection Agency has a study underway that should help to inform the debate.

Glance adds that if the state ultimately allows the drilling, it will need to re-staff the Department of Environmental Conservation to regulate it.

"The systematic dismantling of the DEC has been incredibly troubling," she says. "We've lost an additional 140 staff members just in the last week."

"We're very concerned about the state's ability to ensure our water resources are protected both from large withdrawals, and from pollution."

Glance says CCE is "hopeful that the next admin will re-invest in critical environmental protection."

Listen to the story on WRVO