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I think that we need to give communities the choice of whether or not they want to have fracking...

Hearings over but fracking comments continue

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The natural gas industry and landowners hoping to share its profits are frustrated by New York's latest delay in lifting a ban on drilling, while environmentalists say much more time is needed to study the issue.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has refused to issue permits for shale gas wells using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since it started an environmental study in 2008.

The state's final public hearing on hydrofracking in New York was held Wednesday. But as the Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports, an unofficial hearing in Ithaca yesteday still drew a large crowd.

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Thursday's hearing started with a small rally outside the State Theater. People interested in giving comments at the Tompkins County Council of Governments-organized event were lined up around the block.

One of the speakers was Nathan Shinagawa, a Tompkins County legislator and health care worker in Bradford County, which is a center of drilling in Pennsylvania.

"I think that we need to give communities the choice of whether or not they want to have fracking because the risks are so huge."

A stenographer was at the hearing to record the comments to submit to the official record being collected by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC recently extended its window for accepting comments on draft drilling rules to January 11.

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