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Troubled EPA hydrofracking hearing nearly set

Image of a hydrofracking site.
Ari Moore
Creative Commons license
Hydrofracking, the natural gas drilling process, is under review by the EPA for its effects on water quality.

The planning -- and replanning -- of the EPA's hearing on the effects of hydrofracking on drinking water has been under intense scrutiny in Central New York. That hearing may be on its way back to Binghamton. 

The EPA's public hearing was moved from Binghamton to Syracuse earlier this month and then indefinitely postponed days in advance of the actual event. Venue officials cited concerns about the cost and logistics of meeting an anticipated 8,000 protesters and attendees, well above the 1,200 pre-registered to attend.

Proponents and opponents of natural gas drilling have kept close tabs on negotiations between the EPA and Broome County officials to bring the event back to the most centrally involved region of the state. The watch for a final decision on the location has been so intense that Broome County's Deputy Executive sent out the following message in an email to members of the media yesterday:

You know I would let you all know if there was something new to report. And there is not. So why keep sending these out you might ask? Because we get multiple requests for updates and I just want to make sure everyone’s covered when I say we have nothing new to report tonight.

Broome County says that a decision is imminent. County Executive Barbara Fiala last night, announcing a plan to move the hearing back to Binghamton's Forum Theater is in its final stages.

No contracts are finalized but that can hopefully be wrapped up as soon as the Cadmus Group and the City of Binghamton agree on security issues related to outside the venue.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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