Gas drilling industry, environmentalists prepare their cases for EPA’s NY hearing, last of 4

By Mary Esch, AP
Sunday, September 12, 2010

EPA to hold NY hearing, last of 4, on gas drilling

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to hold in New York the last of four hearings around the country about a natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water into the ground.

The process is called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It releases natural gas from rock thousands of feet underground.

The EPA is studying fracking as gas drillers swarm to the lucrative Marcellus Shale region primarily beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio.

The gas industry wants the EPA to keep a narrow focus in its study of how fracking may affect drinking water. Environmentalists want the study to cover everything from road-building to waste disposal.

Monday’s hearing is in Binghamton, a three-hour drive northwest of New York City. It was postponed twice last month because rallies and expected big crowds raised security concerns.

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