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‘Fracking’ opponents pack budget hearing

ALBANY — Busloads of opponents of natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing were in Albany to hear the state’s top environmental official testify before lawmakers.

State lawmakers are expected to question Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens about fracking. One shouting protester confronted Martens before he began his testimony Monday morning.

Arun Gandhi, grandson of nonviolent protest leader Mahatma Gandhi, was among those presenting a “pledge of resistance” to fracking to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo has said his budget doesn’t include increased spending for fracking regulation because DEC hasn’t completed its environmental review and decided whether to end a 4 and a half year-old moratorium.