Syracuse, NY -- The nation’s top-ranking environmental agency on Wednesday said New York’s proposed rules for high-volume hydrofracking need to be significantly expanded and should include a greater emphasis on potential health impacts that could be associated with natural gas drilling.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency submitted 14 pages of comments to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is in the process of deciding how to regulate natural gas drilling for years to come. The DEC’s public comment period ends Thursday.

EPA officials urged the DEC to partner with other state agencies, such as the Public Service Commission and Department of Health, to more thoroughly analyze the cumulative and indirect impacts of gas drilling. Federal regulators said they were particularly concerned about the potential risks of gas drilling in watershed areas in New York City and across the state.

The Post-Standard reported Monday that oil and gas companies hold hundreds of leases in the Skaneateles Lake and Otisco Lake watersheds, which provide drinking water to more than 400,000 Central New Yorkers.

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