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New York extends fracking ban

The New York State Assembly has voted to extend a ban on the controversial natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing at least until May, 2015. Supporters of the measure said the extra time will allow for more independent health impact studies to be conducted.

A report in the Times Herald-Record quotes one of the sponsors of the bill enacting the ban as saying: “We have to protect our water. That’s what this is all about. The gas is going to be there when the price is worth more. The water will be there and we want to make sure it stays clean.”

But any such ban would also have to get through the state Senate before it could go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for approval.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” involves pumping millions of gallons of water underground to break up underlying rock formations and release trapped deposits of natural gas.

It’s controversial because the fracking water contains toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, and environmentalists worry that it may contaminate drinking water supplies. The procedure is used along the Marcellus Shale, a gas-rich underground rock formation that extends into New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.

According to the Times Herald-Record, New York has spent more than four years studying the issue. But supporters of the bill feel it needs still more examination, and are calling for a study by the State University of New York system.

Lopez McHugh is investigating injuries related to natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve. If you have significant injuries, contact a Lopez McHugh attorney for a free evaluation.

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http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130307/NEWS/303070339