New York State Moves to Allow Hydraulic Fracturing

by Julie Clark
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NYS Department of Evironmental Conservation
Leo Reynolds, flickr

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation released recommendations Friday.


Commissioner Joe Martens spoke on Friday saying, “I believe it (fracking) can be done safely. With all the precautions that we have built into the process I believe it can be done safely.”

Under their proposed regulations, drilling will not be allowed in the Syracuse or New York City watersheds because drinking water taken from them is unfiltered. It also will not be allowed in other “environmentally sensitive areas” such as state parks or within 500 feet of a private well. Those were not recommended in the 2009 review but Martens said, “We just feel that there is good reason for an excess of caution and to build in more stringent requirements.” 

No fracking permits will be reviewed or approved until the regulations have been finalized. Commissioner Martens also emphasized that no fracking will be allowed if the DEC does not have sufficient resources to monitor to process. Additionally, the companies conducting the drilling will be obligated to let the DEC and the public know what chemicals are being used in the process.

There will be a 60-day public comment period, after which the DEC will review all of the comments. Until all comments are reviewed, the document will not be final and no permits will be issued.

Proponents are hopeful that lifting the ban on hydrofracking would bring more jobs to the state. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said in a statement, “We need to let the experts determine the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing as we also consider the potentially substantial economic boost for areas of the state that are in dire need of jobs.”

President of Hudson Riverkeeper, Paul Gallay, says that the state is moving in the right direction but he thinks that much more needs to be done before fracking can be done safely in New York 
 

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