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New York Senate stalls Marcellus fracing

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 – The New York Senate, by a vote of 49-9, approved a temporary ban on the drilling of wells requiring hydraulic fracturing. The measure, which cannot become law unless passed also by the state’s General Assembly, would curtail drilling in New York’s part of the Marcellus shale play until next spring.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, attributed the vote to “a calculated campaign of misinformation and ignorance.”

The bill (S1829B), sponsored by Sen. Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo), halts the issuance of drilling permits for wells needing fracing. A companion bill in the General Assembly, sponsored by Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), has not been brought to the floor for a vote.

Sweeney said he expects the bill “to pass with similar overwhelming numbers.”

Supporters of the ban say hydraulic fracing, essential to production of natural gas from shale, threatens supplies of drinking water.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is reviewing the environmental effects of drilling in upstate New York.

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