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Industry, enviros praise NY gas-drilling time-out
|Environmental groups and energy companies both claimed victory after Gov. David Paterson ordered a seven-month moratorium on some natural gas drilling in the state, although environmentalists would have preferred the broader ban that the Legislature had approved.|
The outgoing Democratic governor vetoed a bill on Saturday that would have suspended all new natural-gas drilling permits until May 15. Instead, he issued an executive order prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled wells, such as those in the Marcellus Shale region of southern New York. The order stands until July 1.
High-volume hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves blasting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water thousands of feet underground to crack shale and release natural gas trapped inside it. The Environmental Protection Agency is examining the process to see if it imperils drinking water supplies, as opponents claim.
Permitting of gas wells in New York’s part of the Marcellus region, which also underlies parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, has already been on hold for two years while the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviews its potential effects on the environment.
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