Mother Nature vs. fracking

Nature keeps complicating state officials' attempts to end a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing. | First, Hurricane Irene delayed the release of the state's environmental statement on the process; officials needed to focus their immediate attention on damage from the hurricane. | Now, the double-punch of Irene and Hurricane Lee may cause the state to rethink where it allows fracking. | Much of the hurricane-related flooding occurred in the heart of the state's share of the Marcellus Shale, around the Binghamton area. | Kevin Cahill, chair of the State Assembly's Energy Committee, says the state should update maps to show which Shale areas are susceptible to extreme flooding. The state wants to prohibit fracking in those areas, known as 100-year floodplains, because of the potential to spread pollution and cause other damage. | A spokesperson for the State Department of Environmental Conservation told North Country Public Radio that a taskforce will examine the floodplains issue. She also said that the DEC wouldn't delay its review of the environmental statement released last week. The public has until December 12 to comment on the document, which can be found at


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