The state is asking local government agencies to regulate key aspects of the natural gas industry, raising yet more questions about who will pay for manpower to oversee multinational energy companies setting up shop in Southern Tier's backyards.

The industry's effect on water resources and roads are included in a report released Sept. 30 by the Department of Environmental Conservation outlining environmental concerns from full-scale Marcellus Shale development.

Risks to water, the report says, include turbidity, methane contamination and, to a lesser degree, potential for hazardous chemicals to breach well-bore casings or spill while being handled or disposed of on the surface.

To deal with those threats, the state is calling on local health departments to oversee a testing program of private wells in drilling zones. Testing would begin before drilling starts, and continue for a year after it ends.

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