NY releases plan to assess impact of gas drilling

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released its proposed plan to review the environmental impact of natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier.

The 45-page document released Monday is the first step in developing supplemental guidelines for issuing permits for gas wells using new horizontal drilling technology.

Gov. David Paterson directed the DEC in July to develop a supplement to the state’s 16-year-old generic environmental impact statement for gas wells to address issues related to the huge volumes of water used in the new technology.

In addition, regulators determined that a supplement was needed to address the impact of possible drilling in the New York City watershed, in or near the Catskill Park, and near the federally designated Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

“This is just the first step in what will be a careful process designed to look at environmental issues unique to the high-volume hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells in these deep rock layers,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said. “This review is designed to ensure that if the drilling goes forward, it takes place in the most environmentally responsible way possible.”

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