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The Dump Continues
June 30th, 2011

The Cuomo administration is releasing news on some of its most contentious issues on the Thursday before the 4th of July weekend. To recap we have prison closings, the lifting of the ban on hydrofracking and the news that Buffalo Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who had an affair with a 23-year-old intern, is leaving his seat to take up a senior position at the Empire State Development Corporation.

Now about that fracking thing. The New York Times web-site featured a news flash that declared Gov. Andrew Cuomo was set to approve hydrofracking in New York. The Times story came out and revealed that Cuomo would approve fracking outside of the New York City, Syracuse watershed and state-owned land. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto called the report, “baseless speculation and premature.”

How premature?

Well maybe by an hour or two as the Department of Environmental Conservation issued a press release confirming the Times report and detailing its new recommendations for fracking. DEC commissioner Joseph Martens is scheduled to address the new fracking recommendations at a press conference at 11 a.m. tomorrow. There will also be a 60-day public comment period starting in August. But environmental advocates and politicos aren’t waiting until August. Here is some of what they have to say about the DEC report:

Environmental Advocates of New York called the decision, “a radical departure.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement:

“We would strongly oppose lifting the moratorium. There are simply too many unknowns to risk inflicting long-term, potentially catastrophic damage to New York’s environment and water supply. Any action to lift the moratorium is premature and at a minimum, New York should wait until the EPA completes its own study on hydraulic fracturing before even considering whether the state should permit this type of drilling activity.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said in a statement:

Todays reports indicating the imminent release of the new draft environmental impact statement for hydraulic fracturing in New York State raise crucial environmental and public health related questions for New Yorkers. As documents and other materials from the DEC emerge I, along with many others, will be adding my voice to what I know will be a rigorous public debate. I want to commend the Governor for his continuing sensitivity to this issue and the concerns it has raised across the state.

However, we do know one thing for certain, and it is troubling: Governor Patersons Executive Order #41, which mandated a revised draft environmental impact statement, contains a loophole that is unacceptable to New York City residents. Executive Order #41 states that the DEC may schedule public hearings on this issue in New York City, but does not explicitly require the DEC to collect anything more than written comments.

Regardless of what the draft environmental impact statement may contain upon its release, it is obvious to me that the States review process will be insufficient and incomplete without public hearings in New York City. I call on the Governor to release a schedule of New York City public hearings together with the new draft environmental impact statement so that concerned New Yorkers can be assured that their viewpoints whatever they may be will be heard in person and by the Commissioner.

By on June 30, 2011, 4:55 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Eye on Albany | No Comments »

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