NY Moves Closer to Natural Gas Drilling Upstate

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New York State will move a step closer this week to opening up the Catskills and the Southern Tier to natural gas drilling, as a key environmental assessment is made public. WNYC's Ilya Marritz explains.

REPORTER: Property owners, energy companies, and environmentalists have been waiting more than a year to learn the state's view of the procedure known as hydraulic fracturing. It's a technique that uses vast quantities of water to get natural gas out of rock.

In the next few days, the Department of Environmental Conservation says it will release an environmental impact statement on what measures are needed to do hydraulic fracturing safely.

In New York there's been an effective moratorium on hydrofracking since 2008. But in neighboring Pennsylvania, hundreds of well sites have had the procedure done, and there have been problems. Last week Cabot Oil and Gas was ordered to cease all drilling in Susquehanna County because of three separate spills of contaminated fluid into surface water. For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz.