Will Community Bans on Hydrofracking Hold Up? (Gotham Gazette, Dec 2011)
Communities across the state have passed legislation banning the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing. The movement brings up questions of home rule and is being followed closely by the natural gas industry. Cuomo administration efforts to open the New York State section of the Marcellus Shale to drilling will require hydraulic fracturing, which critics say poses a serious threat to the safety of surface and underground water sources, and causes other environmental problems. Advocates of the process say it will boost upstate economies.
According to a list compiled by Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking, fifty-four upstate communities –spanning 14 counties and including the cities of Albany and Buffalo- have permanently banned or placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and related activities within their boundaries. And more bans are on the way. Six upstate counties (Dutchess, Onondaga, Ontario, Sullivan, Tompkins and Ulster) have banned hydraulic fracturing on all county-owned lands. The practice is already restricted from the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.
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