Gas drilling impacts on Big Apple’s water supply now a mayoral race issue

Perhaps when mayors of small mountain towns on Colorado’s Western Slope express concerns about the environmental impacts of natural gas drilling it doesn’t cause too many ripples nationally, but when it becomes a campaign issue in the Big Apple, people tend to notice.

Last year, the mayors of Colorado towns like New Castle and Rifle complained loudly about the impacts of drilling on quality-of-life issues like water, air and wildlife habit. Now, according to ProPublica, New York City mayoral candidate William Thompson is taking on Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the potential contamination of the city’s water supply by gas drilling upstate.

“I am also concerned that the City and the Water Board have been extremely lax in responding to this threat,” Thompson told ProPublica, adding the mayor should be more vocal about a pending city report warning that “nearly every activity” associated with gas drilling could contaminate the city’s drinking water supply. Bloomberg’s office responded the mayor was withholding comment until the full report comes out in December.

According to ProPublica, the city-commissioned report runs counter to the state’s environmental assessment paving the way for a major New York gas boom.

Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna told ProPublica the mayor is very concerned about maintaining the quality of the city’s water supply.

“This is not a fringe issue for this administration,” LaVorgna said. “This is a mayor that adamantly orders tap water every night he dines out.”

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