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Record-Breaking Public Response To Fracking Plan

Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Thu, 2012-01-12 09:46.

Now that the public comment period on the state's proposal to allow hydrofracking is over, the environmental agency overseeing the initiative expects to make some changes to its plan.

DEC received more than 20,000 public  comments, a new record for the agency (photo by Jon  Campbell/Gannett).DEC received more than 20,000 public comments, a new record for the agency (photo by Jon Campbell/Gannett).Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said Wednesday that he expects "additional improvements" will be made, once the agency pores over the more than 20,000 comments received -- the most received on any issue in the agency's history. The natural gas industry and many property owners would like to allow drilling as soon as possible, but there are a number of important questions that need to be addressed. Among the most obvious gaps in the state's plan is a detailed strategy for handling wastewater produced by drilling, called "fracking waste."

Another concern is the integrity of dams and aqueducts if deep drilling is allowed. New York City would like a buffer of up to seven miles between drill sites and its drinking-water infrastructure; the state has proposed only 1,000 feet. 

NYLCV's policy team has recommendations, too, which you can see here in our new 2012 State Policy Agenda.

It is unclear when the state might actually issue permits that would allow drilling to begin. Martens initially hoped to authorize permits this year, but has since said the agency needs more time.


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