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Source: WIVB Buffalo

Fracking opponents call for ban in NYS

BY RACHEL KINGSTON

Posted: January 16, 2012
Originally Published: January 11, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The controversial topic of fracking is a major focus in Buffalo as environmental groups call for a ban in New York State.

Wednesday marks the end of a three-month-long public comment period on hydraulic fracturing in New York State. Opponents of the practice are calling on Governor Cuomo and the DEC not to end the state's moratorium.

Rita Yelda of Food and Water Watch said, "There is no way that existing water-filtration systems can come close to handling the chemicals used in drilling."

More commonly referred to as "hydrofracking," it's a method of gas drilling that involves pumping a mixture of water and chemicals under pressure into the ground, to break apart shale deposits and release the natural gas trapped inside.

The DEC has done a preliminary study, and written a draft of hydrofracking regulations. But these critics worry, the regulations aren't strong enough to protect the environment or public health.

Brian Smith of Citizens' Campaign for the Environment said, "New York State has also failed to prohibit the use of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in fracking fluid."

They're also concerned about what they perceive as a lack of oversight. Because of the abundance of natural gas in western New York and the southern tier, as many as 9,500 wells in our region could be tapped for "fracking."

"They have only four people that are supposed to supervise those wells. You know, each of those wells could be fracked on a horizontal basis a number of 18 times," said John Buckley of PUSH Buffalo.