DEC challenged on gas drilling rules

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas want the state Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt a more detailed level of environmental review for the limited use of the technique already allowed by the state.

The claim was made in legal papers filed Wednesday with the DEC by Advocates for Cherry Valley, an Otsego County environmental group. It focuses on the use of hydrofracking -- a high-pressure injection of a mix of chemicals, sand and water to break up underground formations of gas-bearing rock -- already used on vertical wells in Cherry Valley, an area north of Cooperstown.

DEC relies on a 1992 review on oil and gas drilling to allow vertical hydrofracking, which is much more limited than horizontal hydrofracking, in which multiple horizontal fractures are done from a single vertical well. Horizontal wells can cover much larger areas underground than vertical wells.

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