(Albany, NY) Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill issued the following statement in response to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed regulations:
“New Yorkers deserve more time to review and weigh in on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The Department’s willingness to hold public hearings and allow for additional time to submit comments does not go far enough, especially when considering the devastation we have witnessed over the past ten days.
“At least five counties located within the Marcellus Shale territory are still suffering through one of the most catastrophic events ever to hit Upstate New York. Many communities are being evacuated today as a new round of flooding is sweeping through the region. The schedule for public comments simply does not allow for enough time to give the Department’s proposal the scrutiny it deserves. The people living in these areas are going to be spending the next several months, and most likely much longer, focused on rebuilding their lives, not assessing the serious environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
“Tropical Storms Irene and Lee serve as a stark reminder that extreme weather events are an increasingly common occurrence in places where fracking is likely to occur. What was once considered a 50 or 100 year storm has now become a nearly annual event. Given the frequency and magnitude of such disasters, flooding in particular, the Department should work with the federal government and all agencies involved in storm response and recovery efforts to determine if these regulations would have been able to protect New Yorkers had wells already been permitted and active.
“I once again urge the DEC to extend the public comment period to at least 180 days and renew the moratorium on drilling in a manner consistent with the legislation passed by the Assembly.”