Chesapeake won't drill in NYC watershed

LOCH SHELDRAKE -- Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation's largest natural gas producers, said Wednesday that it won't drill in the New York City watershed in upstate New York because of opposition from politicians and environmental groups.

The announcement failed to fend off criticism from local officials, environmental advocates and residents who packed a theater Wednesday night for the first of four public hearings on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's new gas-drilling regulations, which critics call insufficient to protect the city's water supply.

Many of the nearly 90 people who signed up to speak called the proposed regulations too weak to prevent problems such as road damage from heavy equipment trucks and water pollution if chemicals are spilled.

Scott Rotruck, an official with Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, said it is the only leaseholder in the 1 million-acre watershed region, which includes a corner of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. It's an area of forests, lakes and streams.

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