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State officials say drilling regulations delayed again

By: Melissa deCordova, Sun Staff Writer
Published: April 23rd, 2010
The Evening Sun

NORWICH – Recent comments from New York Governor David Paterson and the chief spokesman for the state’s environmental conservation department point to a further delay in the review process for permitting natural gas drilling into shale formations.

Speaking at an Earth Day event on Tuesday, Gov. Paterson said, “For us to be investing in any drilling of natural gas could only exist – and we have not made a final decision – if there is a finding that it’s safe and does not affect our environment, particularly the water that we drink.”

Paterson halted hyrofracking into shale formations in November 2008 until the completion of an environmental review and impact plan. After the public comment period on the proposed regulations ended last December, Department of Environmental Conservation officials indicated a March and, later, a June target date for issuing drilling permits.

Hydrofracking is a technology that utilizes a mixture of water, soap and chemicals to extract natural gas from tight subterranean shale formations, such as the Marcellus and Utica shales. Opponents to drilling say energy companies haven’t been up front with the quantities and mixtures of the chemicals they use, and that many of the elements are dangerous to human health and could taint the water supply. Land owners and the energy companies posed to lease their property to drill for the energy source say the process is safe. They point to the DEC’s track record in New York of successfully regulating oil and gas drilling activities, as well as the state’s need for the economic relief that the industry promises.

Statistics

There are 194,500 acres represented in the Coalition as of 8/18/2010. The latest gas offers in New York State are $3000/acre with 20% royalties.

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