Despite ongoing protests in hopes to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York, CBS reports the state is about to green-light the controversial practice. An announcement detailing the plan's regulations is expected soon.
The decision follows a moratorium on drilling permits set in 2008 in order to conduct environmental tests to ensure the safety of residents.
The practice, more commonly referred to as fracking, permits gas drilling of toxic chemicals deep into the ground to extract natural resources.
Many environmental experts say drilling carries a high risk of poisoning clean waters, and believe the threat of contamination far outweighs any potential economic benefits drilling may bring.
Some also say the problems plaguing beleaguered farms in economically distressed areas will only be exacerbated after fracking takes off.
But proponents of fracking believe otherwise.
"[The Marcellus Shale Formation] may hold enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for two decades," Penn State geosciences professor Terry Engelder told BusinessWeek, referring to the gas-rich rock formations in Pennsylvania and the bordering New York counties.
Although the state's pending approval comes as a disappointment to environmentalists, Cuomo is likely to only allow fracking in limited areas that want drilling to take place in their communities.
But some say such limitations are not enough, and in fact "treat Southern Tier residents as second class citizens and unfairly subject them to potentially irreparable hazards."
In July, a drilling company in Avon, New York reportedly shut down wells and turned off free gas to landowners due to the town's decision to set a temporary ban on drilling.
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