By Edward McAllister
(Reuters) – A final hearing on proposals to lift a ban on drilling for natural gas in New York state drew a crowd of protesters on Wednesday opposing further energy development there.
New York City hosted the last of four hearings to discuss the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) new rules that could open the state’s borders next year to a controversial drilling technique known as fracking.
New York has had a three-year moratorium on fracking, which involves blasting chemical-laced water and sand into gas-rich shale rock deep underground.
The technique would allow drillers to tap potentially huge reserves of gas in New York’s share of the giant Marcellus shale formation. But environmentalists say fracking could contaminate drinking water for millions of residents.
As at previous meetings across the state this month, protesters, including actors Debra Winger and Mark Ruffalo, gathered in downtown Manhattan to express concern about the safety of water supplies, holding signs saying “Governor Cuomo, don’t frack it up” and “Don’t frack with New York”…
…”Evidence from other states demonstrates that there are significant environmental risks associated with hydrofracking,” State Senator Liz Krueger said in testimony to the DEC on Wednesday. “Every few months a new incident highlights the risk.”