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Fate of New York Fracking Rules Remains Uncertain Amidst Demands for Additional Public Comment

The fate of New York’s fracking moratorium remains uncertain.  According to the Huffington Post, if the rules proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are not finalized by February 27, 2013, the proposal will expire and create an opportunity for another round of public comment.  Whether the new rules will be issued by the deadline remains uncertain.  DEC Commissioner Joe Martens recently testified before state legislators that DEC “[does] not have a timetable” for completing the environmental impact review related to the regulations.  Martens indicated that DEC’s completion of the rules is dependent upon a forthcoming report from the Department of Health.  Martens added that completing the rules could take even longer if the Health report recommends modifications to the proposed rules.  A coalition of New York state lawmakers has demanded that DEC provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the health aspects of the impact review.  This could delay the completion of the rules even further.  Based on a recent telephone poll of approximately 1,200 registered voters in New York, there is an even divide among New Yorkers on whether to lift the 4 ½ year-long moratorium.