Hydrofracking Debate Heats Up

September 23, 2012 Updated Sep 23, 2012 at 12:34 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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September 23, 2012 Updated Sep 23, 2012 at 12:34 AM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) Niagara Square echoed with chants as dozens gathered to rally against hydrofracking, asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the practice in the state.

"Fracking is just a toxic technology, and in New York State, we're really ground zero right now," protest organizer Rita Yelda said.

Protestors say drilling into the earth for natural gas creates hazardous byproducts, and threatens groundwater and the environment.

"Folks are really moved to action. They realize what's at stake, they realize our air, our land, our water is really at stake if we let these drillers come into our state," Yelda added.

On Friday, a geological symposium was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center focusing on shale gas. Experts there weighed in.

"There certainly is a risk involved with anything, but there are ways to mitigate that risk. And it just needs to be done in its proper way and I think things can be taken care of," geologist Rick Watt said.

According to Watt, the benefits of hydrofracking could make the process worthwhile for New York State.

"There certainly is a lot of potential there though, for financial development, for jobs, job opportunities. You really just have to look across the border to Pennsylvania as well as down south and other states to see the financial development that comes with this," Watt explained.

But anti-drilling advocates weren't convinced.

"People, as far as I'm concerned, trump money and politics. People and animals and the planet," protestor Joanne Russ said.

There is no timetable for when the Governor could make a decision on hydrofracking.