DEC: no fracking decision before health review is done

Dec 3, 2012

The Cuomo Administration says it will not be ruling on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York until an on-going health review is finished.  The delays have resulted in the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation having to open another public comment period, which begins December 12.

The environmental agency says it missed the November 29 deadline to finish setting rules for fracking, in order to allow more time for the state’s health commissioner to complete a review of health impact data. Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah is studying the material, with the help of three outside experts hired by the state. A spokeswoman for the DEC, Emily DeSantis,  says no decisions will be made on fracking until the health review is done, and that is why the rule making process has been extended for another 90 days.

“DEC will not take any final action or make any decision regarding hydraulic fracturing until after Dr. Shah’s health review is completed and DEC, through the environmental impact statement, is satisfied that this activity can be done safely in New York state,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Part of the extension requires a new public comment period. Environmental groups plan to weigh in. Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates says there is still plenty to discuss.

“The previous round of regulations and the environmental review didn't go nearly far enough to protect New York’s water and New York’s air in our communities,” Nadeau said.

The lobby group for the state’s gas and oil companies say they are still going through the voluminous revised regulations, but also plan to submit comments.