EPA Criticizes NY Gas Drilling Plan

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Drilling for natural gas Drilling for natural gas (World Resources/flickr)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the latest voice to criticize Albany's plans for natural gas drilling.

A letter from the EPA is putting pressure on Gov. David Paterson to intervene. The EPA says it has "serious reservations" about gas drilling in New York City's Catskill watershed. It says the state hasn't done enough study of the potential damage not only to city reservoirs, but to streams and lakes around the state.

The controversial gas-extraction procedure known as hydrofracking is already in use in several states, but New York is the first to do an environmental review. The EPA says that's a good thing, but the review should be "significantly expanded."

In a separate letter, the union representing state environmental workers says there aren't enough personnel to oversee the expected boom in gas drilling.

Gov. Paterson says he's committed to water safety. The deadline to comment on the state's drilling plans is December 31.

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