DEC’s “Real” Hydrofracking Deadline May Be Feb. 13

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The state may have to signal a decision on hydrofracking by Feb. 13 if it hopes to hit an end-of-the-month deadline to finalize its proposed regulations.

From this weekend’s Gannett newspapers:

The state Department of Environmental Conservation faces a Feb. 27 deadline to either finalize the planned hydrofracking rules or allow them to expire.

But an extensive environmental review — known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or the SGEIS — has to be released first. State law mandates that the SGEIS must be released to the public at least 10 days before the DEC issues a “findings statement,” which would include an ultimate decision on whether to allow fracking in New York.

The document, which totaled 1,500 pages in a 2011 draft, would have to be published in the DEC’s official bulletin, which is printed each Wednesday. The final Wednesday that meets the 10-day advanced notice period would be Feb. 13.

“We’re optimistically hopeful something will be released by (Feb. 13),” said Yvonne Hennessey, who represents the oil-and-gas industry as an Albany-based lawyer with Hiscock & Barclay LLP.

The DEC declined to respond to inquiries about the deadline.

While much of the focus has been on the Feb. 27 deadline, Feb. 13 could prove to be just as important in the fracking debate.

The proposed regulations, due Feb. 27, include the limitations and rules that would govern the natural-gas industry. The SGEIS, however, includes the reasoning behind the DEC’s decision making and will ultimately decide whether high-volume fracking can move forward in New York.

You can read the complete story here.

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