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NYS Assembly Holds Hydrofracking Hearing

NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – One of the most controversial issues of modern times - Hydraulic Fracturing - the natural gas extraction process has been the subject of a New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Hearing in Albany ... WAMC's Dave Lucas attended the hearing and files this report.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens' testimony and subsequent question-and-answer session with the panel lasted more than 2 hours. Martens fielded a battery of questions including fracking's impact on human health, the environment, the New York City watershed, tourism and farming... he vouched for the DEC's integrity and the dsgeis process.

Bill Kappel, a hydrologist with the US geological survey, warned that New York's shale resource can't be compared to that in Pennsylvania.

when asked about Pennsylvania's fracking problems, Commissioner Martens said New York's approach to dealing with and regulating the activity would be totally different. He said his department is working with the department of health when it comes to health-related issues.

Officials from New York City testified in the interest of protecting the city's watershed: their concerns about the infrastructure included the possibility of fracking triggering seismic activity... and the placement of wellpads near conduits carrying water from upstate.

In all, more than 70 witnesses were scheduled to testify - representing a cross section of public and private sector organizations, including residents of areas who would be affected by hydrofracking.