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Chesapeake Bay groups call for comprehensive review of gas drilling

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Environmental groups are concerned about the potential impact of drilling on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

Environmental groups are calling on the federal government to look at how drilling in the Marcellus Shale could affect the Chesapeake Bay, reports Alex Dominguez at the Associated Press.  They've filed a petition to demand a "programmatic environmental impact statement:"

Assessments are under way, but none are comprehensive, the groups said. Much of central New York and the Southern Tier, as well as a large portion of Pennsylvania, sit within the watershed. An ongoing review of hydrofracking by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, for example, deals with the impact on drinking water, said CBF attorney Amy McDonnell. The foundation would like one review that also takes into account the impact on groundwater, air pollution and other areas, she said. "Basically to look at everything. That is what the EPA study is going to fail to do," McDonnell said. If a review is not conducted, the groups could sue to force the government to conduct one, a step that has been successfully taken in the past, McDonnell said.

Catalyst Energy, a natural gas drilling firm in Pennsylvania, has been ordered by the state's environmental protection agency to cease drilling.  The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) charges that the firm contaminated well water, reports the Associated Press:

The DEP says Catalyst has a permit for the wells and had drilled 22 of them in recent months. Now the company must stop that activity until it investigates and determines which wells may be responsible for the water contamination -- and also must immediately provide temporary whole-house water supplies to the two affected homes. The company must replace or restore the water supplies permanently by July 1.

Energy allotments

As predicted yesterday, a new allotment of low cost power for Yahoo was approved by the New York Power Authority.  Matt Glynn at the Buffalo News reports that five other firms with western New York operations picked up incentives too.  The deal: 150 jobs will be created  total, and the businesses will get 4,070 kilowatts of cheap power.

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