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DEC finally releases full draft of fracking review

Read up: the DEC has released a 1,500 page draft of its report about hydrofracking.
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Read up: the DEC has released a 1,500 page draft of its report about hydrofracking.

After promising to submit the draft review earlier this summer, then releasing a shorter version of the document instead, and then once again hitting pause on the release of the document because of Irene ... it's finally here!

You can read the "revised draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement" - also known as the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) review of hydrofracking - here.

The details

Obviously we've all got some reading to do now, but right off the bat, here's what the DEC says about the document in its press release.

The jobs created by fracking would likely be in the thousands:

... 6,198 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers under a low-development scenario and 24,795 FTE workers under the average-development scenario. These jobs are estimated to bring $419.6 million to $1.7 billion in earnings for the workers.

But lots of those jobs would be construction jobs, not jobs on actual drilling rigs:

Construction jobs account for 4,408 to 17,634 FTE positions. These employment figures correspond to the annual construction of 413 horizontal and vertical wells under the low-development scenario and 1,652 horizontal and vertical wells under the average-development scenario. At the peak of development, operational jobs are expected to range from 1,790 FTE workers under the low-development scenario to 7,161 FTE workers under the average-development scenario.

Indirect jobs might amount to somewhere between 7,200 to 29,000 jobs.  The DEC put together a fact sheet about the socioeconomic impacts of drilling.

Weighing in

You'll have 90 days to comment on the draft - and the agency is "looking forward" to what you have to say:

"Throughout this process, DEC's number one priority is to protect the state's drinking water and environment in concert with exploring options to safely and efficiently extract the state's natural gas. This will enable New York's economy to benefit from this resource and the job opportunities that development is expected to bring," Martens said. "We look forward to receiving comments from the public that will help inform the final conditions for high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York state. The proposed environmental mitigation measures and the regulations that codify those measures go hand in hand. It makes sense to move forward with them together and hold simultaneous public comment periods and hearings."

The agency will come out with its proposed regulations about fracking - which it couldn't write until the review was done - in October.  

The public comment period for the revised draft SGEIS begins today and concludes Dec. 12. The public comment period for the regulations will begin in early October and will run concurrently with the SGEIS public comment period.

There are going to be hearings about the rules, but the DEC doesn't know when or where they will be yet (or isn't telling):

DEC plans to hold four public hearings during the comment period for the SGEIS and regulations in November. The hearings will be held in counties within the Marcellus Shale region, as well as New York City. Exact dates and locations will be released in early October.

There will be no new fracking permits until this process is done:

No permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing will be issued until the SGEIS is finalized and DEC issues the required Findings Statement.

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