Hydrofracking Report Released In New York

07.01.11 | Sarah Harnisch

A long-awaited report on hydrofracking in New York surprised everyone and came out a day early on Thursday afternoon. This 900-page rulebook tells how drillers have to play fair to dig for natural gas in upstate New York. When the full version is finished, hydrofracking permits for Marcellus Shale gas wells will be issued all across the state. The second draft of this report will be put on public display July 8th, starting a 60-day comment period starts. After that, they'll make revisions and submit a final draft -- finally allowing shale drilling in New York.

So what was in the report? A press conference today in Albany explained some of the finer details -- but here is what is known so far. The D.E.C. asked for an all-out ban of hydrofracking in the Syracuse and New York City watersheds, as well a ban on drilling on the surface of any state-owned land. It also called for a ban within 500 feet of primary aquifers that provide drinking water for cities. If these requests are finalized, about 15% of the shale would be off limits to natural gas drillers.

Those against drilling say it can contaminate the water supply and drilling accidents are dangerous. Supporters say accidents are rare, as is any water contamination, but job opportunities far outweigh the risks. There is no date as to when permits will go out. This second draft took 21 months to write, and the final version has yet to be drawn up.