The Marcellus drilling wars begin

This is going to get ugly.
Under the banner headline: “This is the Number One Environmental Crisis Facing New Yorkers” Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer is launching a crusade to stop any and all natural gas drilling in the City of New York’s watershed. The drilling he’s concerned about is from the surge in interest in the Marcellus shale, a formation that appears to dwarf all the other shales in the U.S.
Today at 4 p.m. CST, Stringer and members of the “Kill the Drill” coalition will rally outside Stuyvesant High School, the site of a public hearing on natural gas drilling in the Catskill/Delaware watershed.
The group’s position: Hydraulic fracturing “has led to pollution, chemical spills, contamination and water theft in other states. While the State’s draft [environmental statement] proposes “mitigation measures,” it fails to ban drilling in the watershed, leaving the City’s pristine, unfiltered water source open to dangerous natural gas drilling. If drilling in the Catskill/Delaware watershed is allowed, the EPA would likely require the construction of a water filtration plant that would cost $10-20 billion to build and $1 million per day to operate.”
Here’s the video the group is using to push its case:

The drilling industry has its work cut out for it, even if the claims in the video seem a bit breathless. The not-for-profit news site ProPublica has spent the past year or so hammering away with stories that are pretty clearly anti-hydraulic fracturing. And it doesn’t help that Houston-based Cabot Oil recently entered into an agreement with officials in Pennsylvania to provide water treatment to residents in an area where it appears natural gas from their drilling entered into drinking water.
One small part of the industry response is the document below, a study put out earlier this year that tries to refute some of the claims about some of the better known cases where hydraulic fracturing opponents blame the process for water issues. In summary the document says investigators couldn’t find any link between the water quality issues and hydraulic fracturing. In some cases drillers did a poor job of preparing their wells, but it was not the fracturing that caused the problems, the report says.
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