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Hydrofracking rules in New York raise worries about water supply

The state of New York is currently considering lifting its ban on hydrofracking and adopting a set of regulations that allows the practice in some parts of the state but not others. ProPublica reports that the latest version of those regulations could directly affect water supplies in the nation’s largest city.

The latest draft of guidelines for hydraulic fracturing in New York could open the door to drilling within 1,000 feet of aging underground tunnels that carry water to New York City — a far cry from the seven-mile buffer once sought by city officials…

If the proposal is adopted in coming months, the state would allow drilling near aqueducts but would require a site-specific environmental review for any application to drill within 1,000 feet of the water supply infrastructure.

That’s not enough to protect New York City’s water, said Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is based in the city.

“There needs to be a buffer area in which there’s no drilling whatsoever,” Sinding said. “Just having elevated review doesn’t cut it.”

States and local governments all over the country are struggling with how to regulate hydrofracking, with responses ranging from requirements that companies disclose the chemicals they use to outright bans on the practice.

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