Current Fracking Comment Count: 837 (UPDATE)

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Sixteen days into the latest public-comment period on the state’s proposed hydrofracking regulations, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has received a total of 837 comments.

That total includes 390 submitted online and 447 sent via mail, according to DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis.

The DEC unveiled its latest set of proposed high-volume hydrofracking regulations in late November as part of a regulatory maneuver to buy another 90 days to finalize them. As part of that, it had to reopen them to public comment for 30 days, which began Dec. 12.

The comment period runs through Jan. 11.

The amount of comments seems to be lagging behind the last comment period, which began in September 2011. But that period, which ended in January, closed with tens of thousands of comments in the final days that were submitted by environmental and landowners groups that had been collecting them.

UPDATE: New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of anti-fracking groups, claims to have collected 40,000 comments that will be submitted at the end of the current comment period.

“Despite the holiday season and DEC’s backwards process of releasing revised regulations before the state’s own health review was completed, opponents of fracking in New York have been mobilizing New Yorkers to provide thoughtful comments that will be submitted to the DEC at the end of the comment period,” John Armstrong of Frack Action said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a group of elected officials opposed to hydrofracking penned a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, calling on them to extend the latest comment period to a total of 90 days. Their rationale? Many governing bodies on the local level don’t meet before Jan. 11, making it difficult for them to approve comments for submission.

Extending the comment period to 90 days, however, would push the DEC past its Feb. 27 deadline for finalizing the regulations, which would mean the regulatory process would have to restart.

The letter, dated Dec. 21, was released by the group — Elected Officials to Protect New York — earlier today.

Letter to Gov. Cuomo and Commissioner Martens on Comment Period 2012-12-21

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7 Comments

  1. 40,000 anti jobers who don’t want New Yorkers and others to have good paying jobs.

    New York needs Fracking and all those good paying jobs NOW

    I say to those 40,000 BE HAPPY WITH FRACKIMG

    Before there was the “Oracle of Delphi” there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

    VJ Machiavelli
    http://www.VJMachiavelli.blogspot.com
    Power to the People who “VOTE”

  2. One other thing. Last year, the regulations garnered only about 650 comments, and that was during a comment period that was three times longer (and not strictly smack dab in the middle of the holidays). The 837 comments already submitted on the regulations surpasses that number, and the tens of thousands already collected, which will be delivered at the end of the comment period, blows it away. New Yorkers are making a decisive statement: no fracking. – John Armstrong

  3. There will be many more comments. There are several problems with the comment procedure.

    One is that the regulations, which are supposed to be based on the SGEIS, is presented for comment without the public being able to see the current version of the SGEIS which should contain the rationale for the regulations, the guidance for DEC and the industry if permitted to proceed, and the DEC’s responses to the thousands of comments the public submitted a year ago on the last version of the SGEIS.

    The second problem is that by releasing the regulations for comment before finalizing the SGEIS including the still uncompleted section of health impacts, it appears that DEC has violated its own procedural rules. It certainly is backwards to what the public had reason to expect.

    The third problem is that the comment period for the regulations was set for a period including the holidays when people are away or have family visiting.

    It is not just a question of needing ninety days to comment, but most of that period should be after we have seen the “final?” draft of the SGEIS.

  4. The DEC completely disregarded many of the concerns submitted in the previous round of comments. For example, common sense (and hydrology) would dictate that the watersheds of reservoirs used for municipal drinking water should be off limits to hydrofracking. They are not. I suspect many of the comments are thus duplicates of previous comments and the DEC has, and will continue, to fail to adequately address them.

    It is unacceptable and every New Yorker should be concerned about the risks being taken with our most precious resources, our water, land and air.

  5. Every comments counts. Please make as many regarding all points in proposed regulations. Please note that no regulation stipulates any science behind it.

    Governor Cuomo, where is the science you promised?

  6. There will be thousands of comments submitted on the proposed regulations. How is it even possible for the DEC to read, research, make adequate changes, and finalize regulations by the end of February? Especially when the SGEIS has not been finished and the status of the health review is unknown? It never made sense to write proposed regulations before the final completion of the environmental impact statement, which, in order to comply with Executive Order 41 was supposed to study comprehensively and cumulatively. The last public draft of the SGEIS was neither of those things, a point which has been further amplified by the DEC’s health impact section, currently under review by DOH and three outside experts, which has never been put out for public comment or comment by instate medical professional organizations or public health experts. The entire mess of a process needs to be thrown out and begun again under the auspices of the environmental scientists at the DEC, not the Minerals division and not farmed out to subcontractors, using independent, peer-reviewed science, not industry reports. The only other viable alternative is for Governor Cuomo to make the moratorium permanent, based on the current body of scientific scholarship on the negative impacts of unconventional gas drilling on air, water, landscape, farming, human and animal health, and atmosphere. It’s not enough to try to protect from the next superstorm by building “smarter”; we need to cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and quickly ramping up renewable energy.

  7. No wonder people are scratching their heads about this comment period when the total SGEIS has no health impact study. This is ludicrous at best. And within the SGEIS regulations that I’ve read so far I haven’t seen any scientific evidence to back up what the regulations are for. One being that the pads and wells can be constructed 500 feet from any house, or any building that is a meeting place. Like a school or church, we can now have a noisy, smelly, lighted 24/7 industrial operation running. Where did the DEC come up with the 500 feet ? Magically? People are frustrated who I’ve spoken with because of the convoluted way the DEC has created this protocol to submit comments to a half written report. Recently the EPA stated that they are now conducting research on the effects of HVHF, why? Why is our government putting the horse before the cart by studying the effects of Fracking when they are allowing this industrial activity to happen? Is the NYS DEC going to do the same thing with NY? Let’s see what happens when Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing comes to NY and then release the studies?