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Drilling differences

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Sixteen stories below the surface of New York City as millions of people come and go to work and shop and live workers are blasting away day and night at bedrock to expand the city’s transit system without public fanfare.

The project under Grand Central Terminal will carve out a subterranean commuter complex that includes an eight-story high cavern and a concourse five football fields long with miles of tunnels and gravel-filled pits.

Enough debris has been excavated to cover Central Park a foot deep using what one official described as “the best technology available today.”

That included freezing the ground and injecting a special chemical solution to facilitate boring and prevent buildings above from destabilizing.

The project has been called a “game-changer for New Yorkers.”

Yet not too distant from New York City, another game-changer for New York has met stiff resistance. Hydrofracking, or using chemicals to break up rock deep underground to release natural gas, could be an economic boom to the state, especially the Southern Tier, with investments, jobs and revenue for the state and local governments. It remains on indefinite hold until the state lifts a four-year-old ban.

While drilling goes on a few hundred feet below Manhattan with no immediate benefits, the immediate needs of New Yorkers for jobs and lower energy costs is thwarted by complaints over drilling a few thousand feet deeper.

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