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Nov 292011

From Green Right Now Reports

Public hearings over natural gas fracking in New York began earlier this fall, and wind up today and tomorrow (Nov. 30).

The hearings by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will help determine whether fracking will be resumed in the state, and if so, help shape fracking practices.

Several environmental groups are keeping watch on the process and assessing the state’s proposed plans. Those groups include: Earthjustice, Riverkeeper, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

As NRDC lawyer Kate Sinding explains in a blog on the hearings, the groups are concerned that fracking not be approved “unless and until it has been demonstrated that it can be done safely.”

“We’re simply not there yet,” Sinding says.

The groups take issue with several aspects of the state DEC’s plan to control fracking. They flag the plan as providing inadequate setbacks and too little protection for the underground watershed that supplies drinking water to half of New York state residents.

If you’d like to make a public comment on the topic (expressing support or reservations about fracking), you can attend the Nov. 30 hearing at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center , 199 Chambers Street, in New York City. Sessions are set from 1 to 4 p.m., and 6-9 p.m.. (Speakers will be limited to 3 minutes each.)

Read more at Sinding’s blog.

The hearings are likely to be watched closely by many activists in the Marcellus Shale region, which extends into Pennsylvania and beyond.