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DEC head grilled on subject of fracking

Feb 05, 2013 3:11 pm
Brian Nearing reports in the Times Union Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens appeared before state lawmakers Mon., Feb. 4. The DEC head was there to discuss the agency's proposed 2013-14 budget, but spent three hours being grilled on the subject of natural gas hydrofracking. The questioning took place in a hearing room packed by hundreds of hydrofracking opponents. Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat and proponent of a hydrofracking ban, took Martens to task for an unreleased DEC assessment of the potential human health impacts of the practice. Martens repeated past statements that his agency has no timetable to finish its proposed shale gas drilling rules, which could require changes based on potential findings from a state Health Department review. Marten's testimony came as the Siena Research Institute released its latest polling on public attitudes toward hydrofracking, which continued to roughly divide New Yorkers down the middle — with 40 percent opposed, 40 percent in favor, and the rest unsure. The poll found those opposed to the process will be more upset if the technique moved forward than fracking supporters will be if it does not. Hydrofracking is a drilling technique which uses a high-pressure blend of chemicals, water and sand to break up gas-bearing rocks deep underground. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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