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Assemblyman Castelli Calls for Moratorium on Hydrofracking
Westchester Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R,C,I Goldens Bridge) was in Ossining today calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale region. The Assemblyman was joined by Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, Assembly Candidate Dr. Steven Katz and Assembly Candidate William Gouldman.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, is a process by which water and chemicals are infused into the ground under heavy pressure to extract natural gas.
Castelli says that while the Marcellus Shale region is located in the upper Western portion of New York State along the Pennsylvania border, hydrofracking would have a very real effect on Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley, particularly the Croton Watershed where the news conference was held.
The Assemblyman is co-sponsoring a bill in the State Assembly calling for a two year moratorium on new hydraulic fracturing permits for the extraction of natural gas until 120 days after the Federal Environmental Protection Agency issues its report on the effects of hydrofracking on water quality and public health.
He's also calling for the creation of exclusion areas to prohibit drilling within 5 miles of the New York City Water supply and for the full disclosure of the composition of drilling fluids and hydraulic fracturing fluids. The latter is of importance, he says, because of the potential for aquifer contamination that could ultimately affect not only the Catskills region, but the Croton Watershed as well.
The EPA, he says, is currently in the midst of a study designed to look at the environmental implications of hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale region.
Said Castelli, "These are not political issues. An issue like this needs to be raised above the level of partisan politics and looked at as a simple fact of protecting the environment."
The Assemblyman said he is also calling on local municipalities in Westchester and the Hudson Valley to pass their own moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing.
Yorktown Town Councilman Terrence Murphy said he has plans to introduce such legislation before the Yorktown Town Board in the near future.
Castelli says he has "no problem using the state's vast natural resources to support our infrastructure. But doing so, in a way that is harmful to the environment, is a problem."
He then went on to add, "During the California Gold Rush in 1884 California banned it because it felt it was harmful to the environment."
The Assemblyman argued that natural gas has" been in the Marcellus Shale formation for millions of years," adding "What is the rush to extract it now?"
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