In late December, the US EPA asked the state of New York to conduct further studies on the environmental effects of drilling for natural gas in shale rock formations within the state. The Marcellus shale formation is thought to contain a sizable supply of natural gas. To release that gas, however, would involve a technique known as 'fracking,' or hydrofracturing, in which high-pressure water mixed with chemicals is injected into the ground to crack the shale. Some opponents of the drilling plan are concerned that the process, which is already widely in use elsewhere in the country, could contaminate the water supply.
"EPA has serious reservations about whether gas drilling in the New York City watershed is consistent with the vision of long-term maintenance of a high quality unfiltered water supply," the agency wrote in its letter to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. We'll find out more.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer