Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Camillus bans use of hydrofracking to drill for natural gas

By John Stith/The Post-Standard
April 28, 2010, 3:34PM

Camillus, NY -- Camillus officials have banned hydrofracking anywhere in the town.

The town board passed a local law that bans drilling for natural gas using the horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique. The action does not affect vertical drilling, town Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan said.

Hydraulic fracturing —known commonly as fracking — involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, fracturing underground rock and freeing natural gas trapped there. Industry officials say fracking is safe, but opponents say it poses environmental risks.

“It would pose a potential danger to water supplies as well as scarring the land,” Councilman James F. Salanger said of the fracking technique. Salanger chairs the board’s public works subcommittee.

Camillus isn’t alone in questioning the use of hydrofracking.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing regulations that would allow hydrofracking throughout New York. But just last week, the agency made it more difficult to use fracking in the watersheds that send drinking water to Syracuse or New York City. The DEC will allow fracking in the two watersheds but will require drilling companies to prepare an environmental impact statement for each drilling site, effectively making the cost of drilling prohibitive.

Earlier this year, both Onondaga County and DeWitt both passed moratoriums banning the use of fracking for a year while the technique is studied.



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