The New York Times reported Wednesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration is close to a decision on how to regulate the burgeoning natural gas industry seeking drilling rights across the upstate region of New York.
Hydraulic fracturing, known more commonly as fracking, is used to extract natural gas from shale rock located miles below the earth’s surface. When a drilling company “fracks” a well, it injects large quantities of sand, water and chemicals into the ground, creating fissures in the sediment that release the gas trapped deep inside. The Marcellus Shale, one of the largest shale formations, lies primarily underneath parts of New York and Pennsylvania, a state where companies — spurred on by the support of Republican Governor Tom Corbett — have drilled rigs on rural land by the hundreds.
Despite industry promises that the hydraulic fracturing process is safe, critics contend that the potential environmental impacts posed by natural gas drilling are not worth what they say may be short-lived economic gains.