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      Assembly passes moratorium on hydrofracking

      Hydrofracking may not be allowed in New York State for another two years.

      The New York State Assembly voted in favor of a moratorium on the gas drilling practice, but it would still need approval from the State Senate and Governor Cuomo. The legislation would delay the Department of Environmental Conservation's issuance of certain new natural gas drilling permits in New York until May 15, 2015. It would also require a comprehensive health impact assessment to be completed by a SUNY school of public health and made public no later than April 15, 2015.

      "The high-volume hydrofracking being proposed for the state is a potentially harmful process that causes a great deal of concern to many New Yorkers," said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. "The Assembly's legislation would allow additional time to assess the true public health and environmental impact of the new drilling techniques. Rushing this decision would be reckless and a disservice to hardworking New Yorkers. We need to ensure a thorough and deliberate analysis of this complicated and controversial issue."

      The Assembly is trying to take action after a deadline passed last month to issue regulation due to an incomplete environmental review. No one in the Republican-led Senate has sponsored the bill.

      Hydraulic fracturing - commonly referred to as hydrofracking - is a process used to extract natural gas by injecting a chemical cocktail and highly pressurized water into underground rock f ormations. Supporters say it will have a tremendous economic impact on the region. Opponents fear could contaminate clean drinking water supplies and cause damage to the surrounding environment.