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Senate passes natural gas drilling ban in Southern Tier
|Opponents of natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier's Marcellus shale formation are cheering the state Senate's approval of a short-term moratorium.|
The measure sailed through the Senate, 49-9, late Tuesday night. If approved by the Assembly and Gov. David Paterson, permits to drill for natural gas in the formation would be delayed until May 15, 2011.
Now the focus turns to the Assembly, where Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said he supported withholding drilling permits until more information is available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An Assembly vote isn't likely until September.
Paterson said he wanted to see what the state Department of Environmental Conservation determines in an impact analysis, which is expected before year's end.
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