As Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration nears completion of regulations that could lift a 41/2-year-old ban on shale-gas drilling in New York, opposition groups have ramped up efforts to persuade the governor to say no to fracking.
Environmental, health and community groups opposed to shale-gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” say they collected more than 200,000 comments during an intense 30-day effort featuring online coaching and comment-writing workshops at churches, community centers, food co-ops, coffee shops and holiday house parties from New York City to Buffalo. They gave cases of comments to regulators Friday, the last day to comment on proposed drilling rules.
Adding star power to the opposition were Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, who urged Cuomo to reject fracking.
Industry representatives also were delivering comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation, arguing that the proposed rules are so strict they’ll effectively prevent drilling in New York’s part of the Marcellus Shale formation.
DEC must read and respond to the comments. The agency received 66,000 comments during a four-month comment period on the earlier version of the regulations and the 1,500-page environmental-impact study and took most of 2012 to read, categorize and respond to them.
DEC has a deadline of the end of February to finalize the regulations. Otherwise, it has to draft new regulations and have additional hearings, potentially adding months onto the process.