The Department of Environmental Conservation released new proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations today. The public comment period starts on Dec. 12 but reactions to them have already started to pour in. The DEC has said it won't take any final action until DEC Commissioner Niravh Shah completes his planned health review of fracking but advocates aren't happy that these proposed regulations have been released before the health study has been completed.
The New York Water Rangers issued this statement:
"The Cuomo administration's decision to propose revised fracking regulations undermines the governor's oft-stated promise to let the science drive his decision-making process.
By issuing revised rules before the Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH), and their outside experts, have had the chance to undertake a comprehensive review of fracking's consequences, the governor and his staff are signaling that it is not important to understand the public health impacts from fracking. But this knowledge is critical, and must be used to shape regulations and ultimately determine whether or not to permit fracking in New York State.
Millions of New Yorkers who could bear the burden of unknown consequences have been left in the dark.
Ignoring the ongoing health and environmental review processes by rushing new rules that have to be finalized by the end of February appears to be either politically motivated or messy administration at the expense of all New Yorkers.
Governor Cuomo must remain true to his assurances to place the public's best interests first and let this process be determined by the science alone. We're calling on the administration to hold off on issuing revised regulations until all of the science on the potential health and environmental impacts are in, and the public's questions have been answered."
Katherine Nadeau of the Environmental Advocates of New York issued the following statement: â€śIssuing revised regulations before the science or health studies are in is a reversal by the Governor, who once pledged to let the science drive decision-making on fracking. Weâ€™re calling on the Governor to put the public over the gas industryâ€™s profitsâ€”let the health and environmental reviews proceed without artificial deadlines, and let the science guide the process.â€ť
Proponents of fracking including the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York have repeatedly condemned what they call an extended and lengthy review process that they say is preventing New York's economy from bennefiting from the operation of new gas wells.