FRACKED: The hopes of thousands New York landowners have faded as a decision languishes on whether the state should allow fracking, the process of extracting gas by drilling horizontally through the shale and breaking it apart with chemically treated water.
HURDLES: Environmental studies about the potential for groundwater contamination are ongoing. Drilling rules and regulations have not been drawn up. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been unwilling to lift a moratorium on fracking. Many say they need help to lift crushing debt, repair barn roofs, replace old tractors and create good jobs locally so the children don't have to move away.
OTHER SIDE: There are also thousands of landowners who don't want gas leases. They welcome Cuomo's caution and hope fracking never gets approved. Their ranks include many organic farmers, vineyard owners, tourist business operators and town residents who agree with environmental groups that the risks of air and water contamination outweigh the financial benefits.