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DEC releases proposed fracking regulations

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Rochester: DEC releases proposed fracking regulations
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The Department of Environmental Conservation has released revised proposed regulations for the controversial gas drilling method known as hydrofracking. Nick Reisman has more.

NEW YORK STATE -- The Department of Environmental Conservation released its newest set of proposed regulations for high-volume hydrofracking, a voluminous set of records that the public can comment on starting December 12.

Thursday was the deadline for the DEC to finalize the regulations, a process that last moved forward in August 2011 when the initial regulations were released. Instead, the agency filed for a 90 day extension of the rule making process on Wednesday as the state works to complete a health impact study of the controversial natural gas extraction process. When filing for that extension on Wednesday, the DEC called it another step in the process in order to allow that health impact study to be completed.

The agency said in a statement that, “DEC will not take any final action until after Dr. Shah's health review is completed. Today's action merely extends the rule making period to enable DEC to take into account Dr. Shah's review.”

Environmentalists, however, aren't pleased. Many of the groups believe the rule making for the controversial gas extraction process needs to be revised.

Katherine Nadeua from Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Issuing revised regulations before the science or health studies are in is a reversal by the Governor, who once pledged to let the science drive decision-making on fracking. We’re calling on the Governor to put the public over the gas industry’s profits-let the health and environmental reviews proceed without artificial deadlines, and let the science guide the process.”

Meanwhile, the industry took a positive spin to the release of the proposed regulations.

Karen Moreau from the American Petroleum Institute sent us this statement that said, “Today's release of revised regulations by DEC regarding hydraulic fracturing is another positive step forward toward the economic renewal that the Southern Tier has needed for far too long…While we are still reviewing the details of today's filing at first blush it is clear that we can create good jobs right here at home and protect water, land and public health using these regulations to guide safe natural gas development. It's time to move forward and finally realize the prosperous future awaiting us.”

Obviously, these documents are going to take some time to go through and analyze. A summary of the proposed regulations says there are changes the state says tighten requirements on well construction as well as further requirements for permitting.

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