January 6, 2010, Binghamton Press and Sun: Massa: DEC must do more to assess impact of drilling

link to complete article is here: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20100105/NEWS01/1050332/Massa++DEC+must+do+more+to+assess+impact+of+drilling

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has more work to do to address concerns about a controversial process for drilling for natural gas, U.S. Rep. Eric Massa said Tuesday....


During his weekly teleconference with media, Massa, D-Corning, said he shares the concerns of the federal Environmental Protection Agency regarding hydrofracking. Those include the water supply, wastewater treatment operations and the cumulative environmental impact.

"I strongly support the reality that it is universally better to burn domestically produced natural gas than imported foreign crude oil," he said. "But if the method by which you obtain that natural gas here in our back yard destroys your ability to put a water well into the ground, then you've just shot yourself in the foot."

Horizontal hydrofracking consumes hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water and injects thousands of tons of known toxic chemicals into the ground, said Massa, who was among officials in New York City Monday who called on Gov. David Paterson to withdraw the DEC's draft environmental impact statement.

"The most precious resource we have in western New York state is our water table and our aquifer and the Finger Lakes," Massa said. "My No. 1 priority as a representative of the people who live here is to protect that resource, especially from foreign corporations who want to get short-term profit quickly and get out of town and leave us with the problem afterwards."

Former Corning Mayor Tom Reed, Massa's presumed Republican challenger this fall, said the EPA's concerns are valid. The DEC has been working on this more than a year, however, and it is time to move on to the next level.

"We have to be concerned about what we do with our water supply because we don't want a situation where we contaminate it for generations to come," he said.

"But meeting with many gas producers, many landowners, talking with people down in Pennsylvania where they are fracking into the Marcellus shale formation, the technology and the environmental concerns can be readily addressed," Reed said.

"The congressman appears to be trying to have it both ways, supporting natural gas but yielding to his political base when it comes to the concerns over environmental impact," he said.

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