Federal EPA drills state's Marcellus framework

The federal Environmental Protection Agency added its voice to the Marcellus debate, with a harsh critique of the state DEC's proposed permitting conditions.

The proposed framework lacks information on how drilling and hydraulic fracturing to develop the Marcellus will impact the health and environment, according to a Dec. 30 letter to the Department of Environmental Conservation from John Filippelli, Chief of the EPA's Strategic Planning and Multi-Media Programs.

In particular, "analysis and discussion of cumulative and direct impacts ... need to be significantly expanded," the letter states. Additionally, "a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the potential health impacts that may be associated with drilling and hydrofracturing."

The EPA does not have jurisdiction over drilling in New York state, although its regulatory authority may come into play with wastewater treatment and disposal wells that will be part of Marcellus development. Also, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, has proposed a bill, known as the Frack Act, that would give the EPA more oversight in drilling, a proposal the industry strongly opposes.

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