A major report on the impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing on New York's environment and economy will be subject to four public hearings and a 97-day comment period, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday.

The DEC released a new, 1,537-page draft review of natural gas drilling technique on Wednesday, focusing largely on the potentially significant economic effect drilling could have on long-depressed regions of New York, particularly the Southern Tier.

The release started the clock on a public-comment period, which will continue through Dec. 12. The agency initially announced on its website that public hearings would be held in Broome, Steuben and Sullivan counties, but quickly backed off.

Instead, four public hearings will be held in "counties within the Marcellus Shale region" --which encompasses the Southern Tier and a portion of the Hudson Valley -- and New York City, DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said. They will be held in November, but exact locations and dates won't be announced until October, she said.

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