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NY set to begin hearings on gas drilling rules

ALBANY — With New York poised to begin public hearings on proposed gas drilling rules, the industry says the regulations would be so restrictive that drillers would avoid the state, while environmental groups call the rules too lax.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is holding the first of four public hearings on Wednesday in the Finger Lakes village of Dansville. People hoping for a three-minute slot to comment on the agency’s proposed guidelines are expected to line up hours before the 1 p.m. hearing at the middle school.

The state has refused to issue permits for drilling in the lucrative Marcellus Shale formation since 2008, when it began its review of the high-volume hydraulic fracturing process used to blast wells into production. Opponents fear it will contaminate water supplies.