Watershed moment? Depends on whom you ask

NORWICH – The decision to provide special environmental protections from natural gas drilling in the watersheds that supply drinking water to New York City and Syracuse has received mixed reactions from both opponents and proponents to drilling.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis announced Friday that due to the unique issues related to the areas’ water supplies, they will be excluded from the pending generic environmental review process for natural gas drilling using high-volume horizontal drilling into shale formations, such as the Marcellus and Utica.

The DEC’S SGEIS review process has already been delayed from June to possibly the end of the year. Energy companies and New York’s landowers wanting to lease to them have been waiting for permission to drill since November 2008, while Pennsylvania and other states within the promising Marcellus Shale region have moved forward.

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