Gas-drilling advocates present their case in Albany

After groups opposing hydraulic fracturing swarmed Albany three times in the past two months, the natural gas industry got its day at the Capitol on Wednesday.

About 50 members of industry and other pro-gas groups met with lawmakers on the Legislature's environmental conservation committees, urging them to stand back and let the state Department of Environmental Conservation complete its review of permitting guidelines for hydrofracking, the technique in which chemical-laced water is injected deep into tight shale formations to release gas.

Dozens of bills that deal with the gas industry have been introduced by the Legislature this year and last, from legislation concerning liability issues to a bill introduced by Sen. Anthony Avella, D-Queens, that would ban hydrofracking altogether.

"The DEC is staffed by the engineers and scientists who have the expertise to navigate this issue and put in place the protections that are needed," said John Conrad, president of Poughkeepsie-based Conrad Geoscience Corporation.

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