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Industry and opposition respond to fracking review delay

Leaseholder representatives and opponents of fracking have both responded to Tuesday's confirmation by Governor Cuomo that a regulatory deadline for the filing of the DEC's draft review of fracking regulations, (including the health impact assessment currently being reviewed by external experts), will be missed.

November 29th had been the date that the state was required to file its draft regulations, including the reviewed health impact study.

The state now has the option to file for a 90-day extension to the deadline for revised regulations, under a provision of the state Administrative Procedure Act, as long as they do it before November 29th.

Allowing the deadline to simply lapse is unlikely as this would trigger a restart of the lengthy review process managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation, including holding new public hearings. This would push the release of the draft regulations off into 2013 with March 1st being the likely new deadline.

Speaking on Capital District Talk Radio on Tuesday, the Governor said:

“I understand that the process has gone on a long time, people say it’s gone on for four years. But, we want a proper process, we want it done as expeditiously as possible. I don’t see how we could get it done by next week.”

The decision has been met with approval from fracking opponents including Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan. Ryan says there shouldn’t be any hurry to drill with gas at a low price, and people should know what they’re getting into before the process is allowed.

“We’ve got to make sure basically that the health impacts are fully understood in this industry, and if it takes going over the deadline, that’s what it takes.” 

However, pro-fracking groups say they are disappointed with yet another delay in a process that has been going on for four years.

Attorney for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Scott Kurkoski, says the process is no longer being driven by science, but politics.

“There is a group out there that wants to delay to kill. The longer they can delay the process in New York, the more likely they are that they would be able to shut down the process forever.” 

The decision to include a health impact report as part of the DEC review of regulations was made on September 20th, and the names of the external health experts who will oversee analysis were leaked last week.

Full comment from Scott Kurkoski and Matt Ryan is included.

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