To frack or not to frack

To frack or not to frack

Poughkeepsie Journal: Virtually since taking office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been clear that there is no timetable for when state regulators must finish their review of the controversial hydrofracking process and determine if, when and how it can be used in the state.

Whether to allow hydrofracking to proceed is a momentous decision; no one is denying the state the right to take the time that is necessary to get it right. But it has been four years, and the state ought to come to a decision.

Hydrofracking involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep into ground, smashing through rocks to get at natural gas deposits.

While the gas-drilling industry is eager to get started, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is still working on its determination of whether hydrofracking can be done safely in New York.

Give locals a say

Based on its previous comments, the DEC will most likely allow the practice to occur on a limited scale, perhaps even through pilot programs that must be heavily monitored. Already, the state has determined that some sensitive areas — such as Syracuse and New York City watersheds — will be off limits to such drilling. But it should add to that list communities that, through their elected officials, have made it known they don’t want the process used within their boundaries.

Others might be inclined to embrace or at least accept hydrofracking, understanding that to this point both the DEC commissioner and the federal EPA administrator have gone on record saying they believe hydrofracking can be done without harmful impacts. And many landowners through the state’s Southern Tier are more than willing to lease their mineral rights for gas drilling, realizing there is money to be made.

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