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New Hurdle for Fracking in New York's Marcellus Shale?

April 16, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release new standards as early as April 17 for air pollution caused by natural gas development. That includes the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Plans to extract natural gas by fracking are on hold in New York while environmental assessments continue.

Jessica Ennis with the environmental group Earthjustice says it has been 25 years since the EPA last reviewed some of these air pollution standards.

"The Environmental Protection Agency by law is required to update its rules and regulations periodically. The natural gas rules were long overdue."

The gas industry claims fracking has minimal environmental impacts.

Ennis is hoping for standards similar to those currently in place in Colorado and Wyoming, which require a capturing of the emissions before they are released into the air.

A study by the Colorado School of Public Health found that health risks from cancers and asthma are higher than normal for people living near fracking sites in that state. Ennis says New Yorkers need look no further than next door.

"If you just look to your neighbors to the south in Pennsylvania, they've seen a huge uptick in air pollution from natural gas drilling that's gotten ahead of the curve in keeping up with the regulations."

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit seeking new standards in 2009, on behalf of Wild Earth Guardians and the San Juan Citizen's Alliance.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY