Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) today commended the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for its decision to extend the public comment period on the DEC’s proposed rules on the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. The extension – to January 11, 2012 – was announced this week at a public hearing in New York City that attracted nearly 6,000 people and generated more than 1,250 comments into the public record.
“The unprecedented attendance at this week’s public hearing underscores the enormous public interest in this important environmental and public safety issue,” said Oppenheimer. “I am pleased by the DEC’s willingness to afford all interested citizens ample opportunity to study the draft regulations and provide substantive feedback to the Department.”
In August, Senator Oppenheimer, along with other legislators, wrote to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens of the DEC to request a 180-day comment period. This request, the legislators’ maintained, was necessitated by the length and degree of highly technical information contained in the draft regulations (known as the revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“dSGEIS”) on High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing). In response, the Administration initially extended the comment period from 60 to 90 days.
This latest extension brings the total length of the comment period to just over 120 days.
“I hope that all interested parties will take advantage of this additional time to convey their views about permitting this type of natural gas extraction in our state,” said Oppenheimer. “I have sponsored and co-sponsored a number of legislative proposals in the Senate to address various concerns about hydraulic fracturing and will continue to monitor developments at the DEC to ensure that our health and that of our environment are adequately protected.”
Comments may be submitted online at www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838, or by mail to: dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510.