Delaware Riverkeeper protests possibility of fracking in N.Y.

The Delaware Riverkeeper is speaking out against newly revealed plans to permit natural gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, in New York State.

The New York Times reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to permit the controversial technique to proceed in certain parts of the state. Fracking injects pressurized water and chemicals to release natural gas from deep underground.

New York’s new rules would respect local bans in towns such as Ithaca and Cooperstown. However, Delaware Riverkeeper Maya Van Rossum argues drilling’s effects can’t be contained.

“Just from the drinking water contamination that will happen. There is air contamination and road contamination and deforestation that results in flooding and other harms that will result if this drilling takes place,” she said. “So that is why there’s so much cause for concern, because the harms are going to reverberate across the region.”

Drilling companies insist the environmental impacts of their activities are minimal and that any cleared land will eventually be reclaimed.

New York is part of the multistate Delaware River Basin Commission and had helped delay drilling in the watershed by prolonging a moratorium.

Van Rossum thinks the new plan signals that New York now will vote to allow drilling in the watershed. The Delaware and its reservoirs provide drinking water for millions of people in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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