Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York, NY –
Governor David Paterson has addressed growing public concerns about an expected boom in gas drilling in upstate New York by ordering a full environmental review.
The move was announced as the governor signed into law a measure to simplify the permit application for energy companies seeking to drill for gas. WNYC's Ilya Marritz has more.
One move will make industry happy, the other will reassure environmentalists.
Energy companies wanted a law to simplify drill permitting, and they got it. But by ordering a full environmental review, the Governor tapped the brakes on any new gas drilling. The review will involve the public, and will examine the impact of gas drilling on water, air, and soil.
The Department of Environmental Conservation will also review its own staffing. Right now it has only nineteen gas well inspectors.
Paterson's move is a stunning reversal. Just two weeks ago, his Department of Environmental Conservation told WNYC it was confident existing regulations were sufficient to ensure that drilling is done safely.
For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz.