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New York Fracking Delay

Written By: Joe Melillo

The governor hits the reset button on the regulatory process for Hydro-fracking because of health concerns, and some feel that the all-important SGEIS could be next.

New York Fracking Delay
 

October 1, 2012

Southern Tier (WENY) - The governor hits the reset button on the regulatory process for Hydro-fracking because of health concerns, and some feel that the important SGEIS could be next. According to a spokeswoman for the New York State DEC, the high profile debate of whether to allow high volume hydraulic fracturing in the state may go on for another year. That DEC spokeswoman announced that the department wouldn't be able to finalize the proposed drilling regulations before the November deadline, meaning the year-long process starts all over again.

     Some say it's a stalling tactic by Governor Andrew Cuomo, others say it's a necessary measure. Walter Hang from Toxics Targeting in Ithaca wrote a letter to state leaders, addressing the health concerns.

    “So many concerns have been raised about the failure of the proposed regulations to safeguard public health,” says Hang.

     Governor Cuomo announced last month that the DEC did a health study on the effects of Hydrofracking, and that health study is set to be reviewed by the Department of Health Commissioner. That review will put the DEC past the November deadline to accept the regulations for drilling, and reset the clock, forcing the department to conduct more public hearings.

     “We're hoping that in addition to restarting the regulatory rule making proceeding he will send the SGEIS back to the drawing board because that has received heavy criticism,” says Hang.

     The Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, is tied to the state wide shale gas moratorium. If that passes then companies can get permits to drill in New York. But paralleling that is the fracking regulations that need to be accepted after public comment within a year.

      Hang says, “I think he will have to allow renewed public comment on both the DEC proceedings and the bottom line for residents of the southern tier is that it could be a long time before shale gas fracking is permitted by DEC if ever.”

      We will have to see what the State Health Commissioner says about the DEC's health study, but in November, the regulatory process is scheduled to restart.