Future of New York's natural gas industry uncertain

Andrew Cuomo

New York won't likely experience major natural gas exploration in 2013, or possibly any drilling at all. The Associated Press reported state regulators are expected to release strict new guidelines surrounding shale gas development by the end of February. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has still not indicated whether or not those new regulations will continue the state's ban on hydraulic fracturing, which has been in place since 2008, or if he will allow the controversial practice to take place on state land.

The ban was put into place when the Department of Environmental Conservation began an environmental impact study into fracking - the process of blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals down a well to break up hard shale rock formations, allowing the gas to flow. Even if the ban was lifted in New York, the AP said it would be unlikely gas exploration would take off in 2013, due to the low prices of natural gas and the threats of lawsuits and challenges from environmental groups.

Biz Journals reported environmental activists have long opposed fracking because they claim it can contaminate water supplies and endanger human health and the ecosystem.

More information on shale drilling in the United States can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

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