Schneiderman blasts feds over Delware River Basin fracking rules

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The Delaware River Basin Commission released an updated set of proposed regulations for gas drilling and hydrofracking in the river’s watershed, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is none too pleased.

The updated proposals, which were released by the commission earlier today, will be voted on by the DRBC — which includes representatives from New York and three other states, as well as the federal government — on Nov. 21.

Schneiderman had sued the federal government because of the proposed regulations earlier this year, maintaining that the federal agencies involved in the rule-making were obligated under law to perform a study of the environmental impacts of hydrofracking in the river basin, which includes parts of New York.

(The feds have asked a judge for the suit to be dismissed, saying among other reasons that the DRBC is not considered a federal agency and isn’t subject to the National Environmental Protection Act.)

The lawsuit is currently in federal court in Manhattan, with another round of filings due early December. In New York, the Delaware River Basin covers most of Sullivan and Delaware Counties, as well as portions of Ulster, Broome and Orange counties, and small parts of Greene, Schoharie and Chenango counties, according to the DEC.

Here’s Schneiderman’s statement:

“By issuing these modified draft regulations, the federal government continues to ignore New Yorkers’ concerns about the impact fracking may have on our environment, health and homes. Though modified, these regulations still lack the benefit of a full environmental impact study, which is required by law and dictated by common sense. Without it, the federal government does not have a complete understanding of the health and safety risks fracking poses, even as it stands to open up the Delaware River Basin to thousands of new gas wells. These regulations are both inadequate and illegal, and I will continue to use the full authority of my office to require that the federal government meet its clear legal obligation to fully study the environmental impacts of fracking in the Basin.”

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