Natural Gas Drilling Deemed Safe for Catskills Region

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The land surrounding New York City drinking water reservoirs will be opened up to natural gas drilling under a plan issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. WNYC's Ilya Marritz has more.

REPORTER: The DEC's draft environmental impact statement acknowledges concerns about drinking water quality. But it says natural gas can be safely harvested from deep below ground if certain measures are taken on the surface, such as a 300 foot no-drill buffer zone around reservoirs.

New York City says it's now reviewing the more than 800 page document, and that the negative consequences of an accident "cannot be overstated". Nine million people depend on the Catskill reservoirs for their drinking water.

The DEC has set a 60 day comment period before its environmental impact statement is adopted. For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz.