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DEC to look at fracking in flood areas

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New York's Department of Environmental Conservation says it may now reconsider which areas in the Marcellus shale are deemed flood plains, in the light of recent catastrophic flooding. But the department says it will not delay the environmental review of fracking over the issue. (see related story)

Karen DeWitt has the DEC response.

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Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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The response comes after Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill pointed out that what’s known as 100 year flood plain maps may be out of date, in light of extreme flooding over the past two weeks, and other record flooding in recent years.  The DEC wants to prohibit fracking in areas susceptible to flooding, for fear of water contamination from fracking wastewater.

“The definition of flood plains, as we know them from our maps are antiquated,” said Cahill. “We need to re- map our flood plains.”

DEC Spokeswoman Emily DeSantis responded in a non- committal manner to Cahill's request, saying, "The recent extreme weather and flooding bring a host of issues to the forefront. Commissioner Martens is participating in the Storm and Flood Recovery Task Force that will look at how to address these issues including flood plains.". She says the DEC will not be delaying the environmental review process, though, over the issue of remapping flood plains.

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