City says no to hydrofracking
by Heather Senison
Jan 18, 2012 | 289 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
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More than 40,000 New York City residents submitted testimony saying “frack no” in the state public comment period on hydraulic fracturing, a method of drilling for oil, into the Marcellus Shale upstate.

City residents opposed the method, known as hydrofracking, because the method involves using hazardous chemicals, which could end up in the watershed the five boroughs rely on for drinking water.

At the close of the public comment period, legislators across the city released statements supporting a state Department of Environmental Conservation-recommended ban on hydrofracking, while calling for more research into a safer drilling method.

The DEC recently put together a 12-member panel to analyze the hydrofracking process and make recommendations that would mitigate its impact on communities across the state.

In comments he submitted in November, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. said, “While I am not opposed to other processes of drilling for natural gas, I am concerned for the mixture of chemicals being used to extract this gas from rock formations using the hydrofracking method.”

Addabbo listed dozens of chemicals he said would be used in the process that he doesn't “want anywhere near our water supply.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Addabbo said the process needs more consideration and guidance from state and federal environmental agencies to make it safer.

“I perceive that the concept to drill as soon as possible in New York State is being done in haste,” Addabbo said, “when protests and valid testimony were presented and submitted.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn both agreed that a better option is for the DEC and Governor Andrew Cuomo to team up and devise a safer method of hydrofracking.

“My administration said from the beginning that decisions on drilling had to be based on detailed scientific reviews,” Bloomberg said. “After completing our own independent study, it became clear that hydrofracking in New York City's watersheds would compromise our ability to maintain an unfiltered water supply.”

At a Queens Community Board 5 meeting last week, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi explained that although the city is dead-set against hydrofracking, the majority of the State Senate represents upstate, which would benefit economically from the drilling.

For example, local economies would improve from an influx of miners eating and sleeping in their towns.

“You're dealing with upstate communities which are so depressed that you wouldn't believe,” he said, citing areas like Utica, Rome and Schoharie County. “These are communities that are economically depressed, that have been crying out for economic help for years, and they are literally sitting on oil.”

However, Hevesi said he would fight the use of any process that could harm New York City's drinking water.
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