Assembly holds hearing on Hydrofracking

Posted at: 01/10/2013 4:35 PM
Updated at: 01/10/2013 5:21 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - Several dozen people signed up to speak before the Assembly committees Thursday.

That's after a thousand or more showed up Wednesday to demonstrate outside the Governor's State of the State speech.

The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health have responsibility for making the rules of hydrofracking.

Many of the speakers complained the process was not fair or open.

"New York State is in a mess right now because we really have, there's been little transparency," said Dr. David O. Carpenter, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

Tim Whitesell, the President of the Association of Towns of the State of New York said "the DEC is in no way accountable to residents who must live with its determinations (so) there's little inducement for it to address the specific concerns of the local residents."

Fracking is underway in other parts of the country. It involves drilling deep into rock, then injecting water and chemicals to free natural gas deposits.

Supporters say it can be done safely. Opponents say the record indicates it pollutes ground water, releases radiation and endangers health.

At stake is big money.

"A single gas well can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to communities who are now cutting services," said Karen Moreau, Executive Director of the New York State Petroleum Council.