A draft report released by the EPA on Thursday indicating that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is probably the cause for contaminated water supplies in central Wyoming may affect New York's impending decision on whether to permit fracking upstate. Sandra Steingraber, an Ithaca College biologist, tells the Daily News, "It takes away the industry's claim that there has never been a documented case of groundwater contamination because of fracking."

The Department of Environmental Conservation is crafting rules and regulations for fracking upstate, and is giving the public a chance to comment before January 11. Opponents hope that the EPA's study, along with strident dissent from the public, will deter the DEC from issuing any permits in New York. DEC spokesperson Emily DeSantis noted that the EPA's report was "specific to Pavillion," the tiny Wyoming town, and qualified that fracking in New York "would be done in deeper formations where the natural gas exists and not within underground sources of drinking water.”

DeSantis goes on to say that the state would require "rigorous casing and cementing standards," along with other stringent regulations. However, gas companies in other states have been known to skirt the rules, and many people who leased their land to energy companies in the spirit of economic prosperity have grown to regret it. Governor Cuomo and state politicians have been lobbied with millions of dollars from the energy lobby, which has blossomed into a cottage industry in Albany since the debate on fracking began.

A flack for Encana, the energy company responsible for the drilling that the EPA claims is tainting water in Wyoming, told the Times that his company didn't put harmful chemicals such as benzene into the soil around the wells, "nature did." Wyoming's governor also disputes the findings, which isn't surprising given that the state relies on revenue from the oil and gas industry.

John Fenton, the chairman of Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens, is grateful for the FDA's report: “This investigation proves the importance of having a federal agency that can protect people and the environment. Those of us who suffer the impacts from the unchecked development in our community are extremely happy the contamination source is being identified.”