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Assembly passes temp ‘hydrofracking’ ban

ALBANY — The New York Assembly has approved a temporary ban on “hydrofracking” and plans to return for more action following an overnight session that ended at about 4 a.m.

The measure would ban hydraulic fracturing in deep, horizontal natural gas wells until May 15, 2011. It’s meant to allow more time for the Department of Environmental Conservation to finish its review and new permitting guidelines.

The moratorium has already passed in the state Senate and now goes to Gov. David Paterson, who hasn’t said yet that he’ll sign it. But he said last week that opponents of the drilling to reach deep, lucrative gas deposits raised enough of an argument “to thwart us from going forward at this time.”