DiNapoli renews push for gas-drilling accident fund

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli became the first statewide official to submit formal comments on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s hydrofracking proposal, using the opportunity to make a renewed push for a gas-drilling accident fund his office would oversee.

DiNapoli submitted a five-page letter to DEC Commissioner Joe Martens today, criticizing the agency’s draft proposals for failing “to adequately address the issue of remediation of contamination resulting from natural gas production.”

High-volume hydrofracking involves a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals that is blasted deep underground to unlock gas from shale formations. The gas-rich Marcellus Shale sits underneath the Southern Tier and parts of the Catskills.

In August, DiNapoli proposed a bill that would create a fund—paid for by a fee on gas drillers—that would cover the cost of cleanup from gas-drilling accidents when liability is up in the air. Gas companies, however, were cool to the idea, and the bill has yet to pick up a majority sponsor in the Senate.

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