DEC to seek 90-day extension on frack regs; landowners group remains ‘cautiously optimistic’

ALBANY – The Department of Environmental Conservation has filed the paperwork necessary to extend today’s deadline for releasing New York’s controversial shale-gas drilling regulations by another 90 days, a move which will kick off yet another public comment period.

The extension would give the agency more time to allow Health Commissioner Nirav Shah and three national experts to complete a public health impact review of hydraulic fracturing. The first public comment session upon the DEC’s previously released environmental impact study was held a year ago. Without the extension, per state law, the regs stemming from that study would have expired tomorrow.

DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said the agency would “fully consider” Dr. Shah’s report and recommendations and revise the 1,500 page SGEIS accordingly. “The 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,” she said yesterday.

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