Statement from Speaker Christine C. Quinn:

While I appreciate the economic opportunity that natural gas extraction presents for the State of New York, I believe the risk to a watershed that provides clean drinking water to over 8 million New Yorkers is simply too great. And if we compromise that watershed, we risk billions of dollars in potential costs from large scale filtration, which might not fully reverse the damage done. Given those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that we would even consider natural gas drilling in what is clearly our most valuable natural resources.

Banning drilling in the watershed would exclude less than 6% of the total Marcellus shale in New York State, while protecting 50% of the State’s drinking water. And to ensure that drilling is rigorously monitored and regulated where it is allowed, I also join my colleagues in urging Congress to include hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Statement from Environmental Protection Committee Chair James F. Gennaro:

New York City’s upstate reservoirs have been supplying the city with pure, unfiltered world-renowned drinking water for 167 years. As a policymaker and a geologist who has focused intensively on the state of the city’s reservoirs for 20 years, I know that the proposed protections for the NYC water supply articulated in the state’s natural gas drilling plan are grossly insufficient and would jeopardize the city’s water supply. We simply cannot allow that to happen. An unfiltered, irreplaceable water supply is not the place to conduct inherently-polluting heavy industrial drilling. Our hearing will make that point loud and clear.