Fracking foes plan Albany blitz

Activists out to stop hydrofracking in New York are gearing up for a major Albany lobbying blitz next Monday -- one that will include a push to enact home-rule legislation authored by Sen. James Seward, R-Milford.

Seward's bill, it turns out, has some competition in the form of another piece of legislation whose sponsor says matches Seward's local control goals while going further to erect new barriers to would-be gas drillers in New York.

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, said his "Property Owners Bill of Rights" legislation is "more comprehensive" than Seward's bill because it would also require the gas industry to disclose all chemicals used and all compounds created from the fracking process. It would also force the industry to pay property owners 150 percent of the market value of real estate contaminated by drilling. It also requires drillers to provide property owners with free medical monitoring for life.

Ball, considered a maverick in the ranks of GOP senators, is also proposing a one-year moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state.

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