NYS decision on fracking awaited

June 19, 2012 Updated Jun 19, 2012 at 7:15 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by David Bertola

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June 19, 2012 Updated Jun 19, 2012 at 7:15 AM EDT

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that a final decision has yet to be made as to whether to allow natural gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale.

Appearing on a radio show in Albany, Cuomo was asked about a June 13 New York Times article that said his administration was considering to allow hydraulic fracturing (also referred to as "hydrofracking") in five Southern Tier counties, and only in communities that welcome it.

According to multiple reports, Cuomo didn't deny the Times' article, which said New York is considering allowing the controversial drilling practice in some counties throughout Western New York and the Southern Tier.

The article said that watersheds in New York City and Syracuse would be off limits to drilling, as would Catskill Park and historic properties, and that the Cuomo administration is considering allowing 50 permits in Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Chenango and Steuben counties.

In those counties, where drilling might move ahead, it would occur only in the towns that permit it. However, drilling would be confined to the deepest parts of the shale formation to decrease the potential of contaminating the groundwater.

A guest on the Fred Dicker radio show on June 14, Cuomo said if hydrofracking comes to New York, the state must decide whether to challenge local laws and resolutions that several communities have passed to ban the drilling process.

According to a Rochester Democrat and Chronicle article, Cuomo said the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is finalizing an extensive environmental and regulatory review of the drilling process, has not made a final determination on it.

High-volume hydrofracking is on hold in New York until that review is complete. The review began in 2008.

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