Fracking finds supporters, opponents at SHS

"There are methods of handling the water that comes back up," Marx added. "It has to be dealt with. You need to put into effect the most reasonable stringent methods."

But, Marx warned, the composition of the frack fluid may not be know until it comes back up so the proper treatment methods may not be available either.

Heath provoked a round of cheers from the audience toward the end of the discussion when he talked about regulating gas drilling.

"If this industry is to going to proceed there ought to be some limits to it," he said. "People have a right to water. This is not political, it's a human right."

The issue of hydraulic fracturing will possibly be settled when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation finishes reviewing and responding to public comments regarding the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.

SGEIS "provides a comprehensive review of the potential environmental impacts of oil and gas drilling and production and how they are mitigated" according to the DEC Web site.

But there is no set time frame for the revised SGEIS to be released.

"We had to provide ample opportunity for the public to weigh in on that proposal," said Maureen Wren, spokesperson for the DEC in a phone interview. "It will be dependent on how long it takes to review and respond to the comments. And then what, if any, changes are necessary to the SGEIS."

Some landowners are anxious to see the review process proceed. They've organized into coalitions for mutual support. They are being offered lucrative lease agreements to have their land developed.

According to the CNY Land Coalition's Web site, the latest gas offers in New York are $6,000 per acre with a 20 percent royalty.

"We can move forward now and do it and get it done safely and bring a lot of jobs and money to these areas that are so depressed," said Dan Fitzsimmons, board member of the Joint Land Owners Coalition. "Bring New York state around and turn it back into being the Empire State which is what we really need to do."

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