Proposed Legislation Would Prohibit Gas Drilling

New York State Senator Frank Padavan (Queens) and Assemblyman James F. Brennan (D-Brooklyn) have announced their intention to reintroduce legislation in next year's session that would prevent the immediate drilling of oil and gas wells in upstate New York. The New York City watershed extends into this area in the Catskill mountains.

The amended Padavan/Brennan bill will permanently prohibit drilling for gas or oil in the New York City watershed to protect water and air quality, and human health. That includes parts of eight counties including Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties where numerous companies have been signing up landowners to allow for drilling on their land. In addition the bill would halt issuance of any permits for well drilling in the state until a complete environmental review is done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

This summer, while approving legislation to change the required well spacing, the governor directed the State DEC to update its Environmental Impact Statement on gas drilling to reflect concerns that might arise from horizontal drilling as a method of extraction -- the method that has recently become more economical and preferred by the companies now coming to New York State. The bill would ensure that all environmental concerns are thoroughly assessed prior to any new well permits being issued.

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