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June 14, 2012

N.Y. eyes tighten 'fracking' limits


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may restrict fracking locations. (UPI/Monika Graff)

ALBANY, N.Y. (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering a plan to restrict the locations where "fracking" by natural-gas producers can be conducted, state officials said.

A senior official at the State Department of Environmental Conservation told The New York Times Cuomo's administration was proposing to limit hydraulic fracturing to counties along the Pennsylvania border and only in areas where local residents support the practice.

The restrictions are aimed at preventing the possible contamination of groundwater and aquifers with the sometimes-toxic chemicals used in the fracking process. Fracking uses the chemicals to crack open rocks and release natural gas.

The Marcellus Shale formation runs through western New York. Cuomo's pending proposal would restrict production to the deepest parts of the formation to better protect underground water supplies.

Although the strategy was still being negotiated within the administration Wednesday, Cuomo has been on the receiving end of protests from upstate residents who don't want fracking to take place in their communities.

On the other hand, some property owners are opposed to broad restrictions on gas production because it would cut them out of potential payments for use of their land.

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