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State review of fracking could extend into summer

Speaking to the Associated Press, the new chief of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, said the state's review of hydrofracking will likely continue into the summer.  Mary Esch reports that Martens says the June 1 deadline for the state to process comments on its draft drilling rules isn't hard and fast:

"We have to figure out just how long we want to make that comment period," said Martens, who believes gas drilling in the Marcellus is the most daunting issue the DEC has faced in its 40-year history. "If our revisions are extensive, and I think they will be, we'll allow more time for public comment. Then we'll take time to digest those comments before we put out a final document that will be the basis for the regulatory program." New York has had a moratorium on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale since 2008 while new rules are developed for high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Environmental groups and others who fear hydrofracking will contaminate drinking water supplies have implored the DEC to hold off on drilling permits until the federal Environmental Protection Agency completes a review of the technology.

Meanwhile the first of a series of eight lectures about hydrofracking kicked off at the University at Buffalo last night.  David Robinson at the Buffalo News reports that American Petroleum Institute economist Rayola Dougher told the audience:

"The energy, the value and the affordability [of natural gas] is going to change the lives of a lot of people."

The New York State Council of Professional Geologists has released a statement that Casey Seiler at Capitol Confidential says signals the group is "agnostic" on hydrofracking.

Federal energy plan

Infrastructurist has a round-up of responses to the president's new "energy security" plan.  Writer Eric Jaffe's review:

What do you get when a flawed energy plan meets a sluggish (and whiny) oil establishment? Prognosis: negative.

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