Hydrofracking's impact on air quality concerns some

Much of the debate about hydraulic fracturing has focused on the impact that the controversial method of natural gas extraction could have on water quality in upstate New York.

Some say, though, that air quality is just as big a concern. Last week, an Albany environmental group focused attention on a citizen-driven study in two western states that found elevated levels of harmful chemicals in the air near gas wells and gas-handling facilities.

Based on nine one-time samples collected by residents in Colorado and New Mexico, the study doesn't pretend to be conclusive, but underscores concerns about the impact of gas wells and production facilities on the health of people who live or work near them.

"This gives us a clue there's a serious problem," said Barbara Warren, executive director of the Albany-based Citizens Environmental Coalition, who said proposed state guidelines don't appear robust enough.

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