August 8, 2011, Saugerties Times: Environmental groups don’t think fracking can be done safely

“We’re going to do this safely,” stated Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as he announced the July 8 issuing of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study (dSGEIS) that outlines the proposed permitting conditions for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of horizontal natural gas wells in the state. Included is a ban on drilling in the New York City watershed, of which most of Ulster County is a part. “[We believe] that the only option to ensure protections for all New Yorkers is to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State,” responded the environmental advocacy group Catskill Mountainkeeper after studying the new version of the SGEIS. While acknowledging that the current draft is an improvement over the 2009 version, Mountainkeeper’s program director Wes Gillingham said there are still major shortcomings in the proposed regulations, and the fracking issue represents “the biggest environmental crisis New York has ever faced.”

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