Gov. Paterson should dump the plan to allow toxic natural-gas drilling upstate and take a fresh look at the risks it would pose to city water, critics said Monday.
'We believe that it is too risky - that it is wrong - to subject not just the water supply of New York City, but of surrounding areas and the entire state, to something this risky,' said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan).
The state Department of Environmental Conservation says new drilling techniques can unlock huge reserves of natural gas trapped in an underground rock formation called the Marcellus Shale.
It claimed last fall it can safely monitor the toxic chemicals and heavy environmental impacts of 'hydraulic fracturing,' which would generate billions of dollars worth of jobs and business - as well as millions of dollars in state taxes.
The critics say it would be unthinkable to allow that drilling in the city's upstate watershed that serves unfiltered drinking water to 9 million New Yorkers.
'This is gas drilling Rambo-style, and it has to be controlled by the federal government,' said James Gennaro, chairman of the City Council's environmental protection committee.
The state's plan devotes less than two pages to protecting city reservoirs and water tunnels upstate.
Mayor Bloomberg's administration has come out strongly against gas drilling, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contends Paterson's plan overlooks health risks.
Paterson's office said the DEC will carefully consider reactions to its plan, and said he 'is fully committed to protecting New York's environment and its drinking water.'