NY opens hearings on hydraulic fracturing

By the Associated Press | November 16, 2011 | 6:15 PM EST

DANSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — More than 850 people turned out as New York state opened public hearings on proposed gas drilling rules and the practice known as "fracking" in the Marcellus Shale.

About 150 people signed up to comment, but only 64 got the chance during the first three-hour session in the Finger Lakes village of Dansville. An evening session is planned.

The state hasn't issued permits for drilling in the lucrative shale formation in southern New York since 2008, when it began reviewing the hydraulic fracturing process.

Opponents who spoke said the industry would harm tourism, choke roads with trucks, lower property values, contaminate water and overwhelm wastewater processing facilities.

Supporters said the industry has a long track record of safety and economic benefits.

The hearings move to Binghamton on Thursday