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Dec 142010

From Green Right Now Reports

Actor Mark Ruffalo, environmentalists and a couple from Dimock, Penn. whose water well was contaminated by gas well drilling, rallied after New York Gov. David A. Paterson issued a moratorium on horizontal gas fracturing or “fracking” until July 2011.

Gas drilling, which often involves fracturing rock with pressurized water deep beneath the surface, has been blamed for sullying drinking well water in several incidents across the country. One of the best known incidents of contamination occurred in Dimock, Penn., which is located above the same Marcellus Shale formations that gas companies want to tap in New York.

Protesters of drilling in New York worry that leakage of chemicals or methane from gas drilling could damage the watershed that New York City and other municipalities depend upon.

Gas drilling advocates deny that hydraulic fracturing has contaminated water wells; though in some locations companies have been court-ordered to supply affected landowners with drinking water to replace ruined wells.

Vertical gas wells remain unaffected by the moratorium, and some in the industry praised Paterson’s decision. The governor said he would allow the vertical drilling to continue to protect jobs, but wants further study of fracturing methods to determine if and how it can be done safely.