Federal energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into high-priced markets in New England and New York. The 124-mile Constitution Pipeline could be operational by next winter.
The future of hydrofracking in New York State, which has been on hold under a de facto moratorium for almost seven years, may be on shakier ground than ever.
New York’s hydrofracking debate has been under national scrutiny for some time. Those who favor it say fracking will boost rural economies and help communities grow and prosper. Those against sound the alarm that the process will inflict ecological and environmental damage.
A new Duke University study links hydraulic fracturing, the controversial gas drilling process, to water contamination. But, like similar studies in the past, there are pros and cons, and questions linger.
The study, co-authored by Rob Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, found that homeowners living near shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of drinking water contamination from stray gases.
Opponents of hydro fracking are charging there’s a potential conflict of interest with a consultant to Governor Cuomo’s environmental agency. They are asking that the years-long review of fracking in New York be restarted. The controversy caused the consultant in question to sever all ties with a gas industry lobby group.