...if Councilman James F. Gennaro’s press conference Friday with two environmental leaders barely moved the needle on the summer news meter, it almost certainly was a window onto the biggest environmental issue almost no one in New York City is paying attention to.
Putting Water Ahead of Natural Gas
It has slowly dawned on people, among them Mr. Gennaro, chairman of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, that there’s one very big local angle to the distant and still exotic notion of major energy companies descending on upstate New York to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.
A large chunk of that area is the 2,000-square-mile watershed where New York City gets its water, which comes unfiltered through the city’s reservoirs and aqueducts to nine million people, or roughly half the state’s residents. That raises the obvious questions: Should there be gas drilling in the watershed and, if so, can it be done without imperiling the federal waiver that has allowed New York to avoid building a filtration plant that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion?