Hydrofracking Forum in Oneonta

By WKTV News

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Community members filled the seats inside the Holiday Inn in Oneonta, to hear about the practice of Hydrofracking. The term has made national headlines recently because of a spill in Pennsylvania.

Hydrofracking is short for hydraulically fractured. Companies are able to retreive natural gas from below the surface of the shale. That is accomplished by taking a mixture of water, sand and additives and injecting them into a well at a high rate of speed. The water mixture fractures the rock and releases natural gas.

On the minds of many at Monday night's meeting was last week's accident in Pennsylvania. A drilling crew was operating in Bradford County when something went wrong and thousands of gallons of natural gas spilled over farmlands. Officials say some of the gas entered a nearby creek.

Lou Allstadt was one of the speakers Monday night. He is a retired Vice President of Mobil and says improvements need to be made before any drilling takes place. "We've got a neighboring state that is doing drilling at a furious pace that hasn't gotten it right, and we ought to learn a lot from that and make sure that those same mistakes don't happen in New York," says Allstadt.

Richard Nyahay is a geologist for Gastem. He also spoke to the crowd at Holiday Inn. Nyahay supports hydrofracking and says New York can learn from the accident in Pennsylvania. "It in fact becomes almost a good case study to take a look at what has happened over the border," says Nyahay.

There will be no hydrofracking anytime soon. New York State has a moratorium on natural gas drilling and it will extend past July 1st.

New regulations for the practice are expected to be released sometime this summer.

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