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State releases 'hydrofracking' regulations

    NEW YORK—The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released its proposed regulations on the natural gas drilling procedure called hydraulic fracturing, Friday, July 1, and will now accept public comments.
    According to the DEC, the rules include a ban on “hydrofracking” for Marcellus Shale in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. Drilling would also be prohibited within primary aquifers and within 500 feet of their boundaries.
    The state has also suggested a ban on drilling at state-owned land including parks, forest areas, and wildlife management areas. High-volume fracturing will be permitted on privately held lands under “rigorous and effective controls.” The department said the recommendations would protect the state’s environment and provide economic development. Approximately 85 percent of the Marcellus Shale would be accessible to natural gas extraction under these recommendations.
    The ban on high-volume fracturing in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds represents a reversal of the department’s 2009 draft report, which would have permitted drilling in those watersheds. The New York City and Syracuse watersheds are unique in that they are the only unfiltered supplies of municipal water in the state. The DEC said because of this they deserve special protection. The prior report also would have allowed high-volume fracturing surface drilling in primary aquifers and on public forests, wildlife areas and parkland; the 2011 report reverses all of these recommendations.
DEC plans for a 60-day public comment period ending in August. There is no administrative or discretionary moratorium on high-volume fracturing. By law, no permits may be issued until the public comments are reviewed and considered and the final Supplement Generic Environmental Impact Statement is released.
    To view the state’s recommendations, visit




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