Thursday, October 16, 2008

New York Natural Gas Drilling Discussed

ALBANY, N.Y. - New York's top environmental official assured lawmakers that an expected boom in natural gas drilling will be carefully regulated even as they raised concerns ranging from truck congestion to contamination of New York City's water supply.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis spent much of his two hours before an Assembly hearing Wednesday promising that gas exploration along a wide swath of the Southern Tier and the western Catskills won't happen unless it's proven safe for the environment. The region sits atop the northern reaches of a massive but deep natural gas reserve called the Marcellus shale formation.

Energy companies have been snapping up gas leases from landowners for more than a year in the region, bringing predictions of billions of dollars of revenue along with dire warnings of environmental degradation.

Ecological concerns center on the massive amounts of chemically treated water shot into deep wells to release pockets of gas. Grannis' agency is updating its mining regulations to deal with procedure, often called "hydrofracking" for the way it fractures rock.

No comments: