DEC Report Says Gas Drilling in New York’s Watershed is OK

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The New York Department of Environmental Conservation released its guidelines for natural gas drilling in upstate New York yesterday. The report unfortunately did not ban drilling for gas in the New York City water supply watershed in the Catskills.

This was a very disappointing turn of events for those concerned with the long term safety of New York City’s highly regarded and pure drinking water supply.

The proposed drilling would be in shale beds. Shale bed natural gas drilling has a bad track record in other states where it has been tried. A technique called hydraulic fracturing that is combined with horizontal drilling has the potential to contaminate the water table.

The natural gas industry argues that the reward to the economy outweighs the risk to the water supply. However, the idea that a marginal change in gas prices is worth risking the safety of the water supply of 15 Million people (including 9 million people in NYC) does not seem logical.

Only 8.5% of the area in New York where natural gas can be found is in the watershed. The watershed needs to be off limits for drilling.

For more information, you can read RiverKeeper’s reports on natural gas drilling. You can also take action at RiverKeeper here.