The delays have have forced the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to open another public comment period, beginning December 12.
The environmental agency says it missed the Nov. 29 deadline to finish setting rules for fracking, in order to allow more time for the state’s Health Commissioner to complete a review of health impact data. Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah is studying the material , with the help of three outside experts hired by the state. DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis says the state won't make any decisions on fracking until the health review is done, and that’s why the rule making process has been extended for another 90 days.
“DEC will not take any final action or make any decision regarding hydraulic fracturing until after Dr. Shah’s health review is completed and DEC, through the environmental impact statement, is satisfied that this activity can be done safely in New York State,” DeSantis said, in a statement.
Part of the extension requires a new public comment period. Environmental groups plan to weigh in. Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates says there’s still plenty to discuss.
“The previous round of regulations and the environmental review didn’t go nearly far enough to protect New York’s water and New York’s air in our communities,” Nadeau said.
The lobby group for the state’s gas and oil companies says it is still going through the voluminous revised regulations, but also plan to submit comments.