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Is Public Comment Period End of Fracking Review?

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The 30-day public comment period which began today is part of the 90-day extension the state DEC is using to finish it's fracking review. That 90-day period ends February 27th - a date pro-gas supporters say will be the finish line in the battle to bring fracking to New York.

"For many this means the process of implementing regulations to proceed with the SGEIS and drilling in New York is almost done," said Scott Kurkowski, attorney for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.

Not surprisingly, those in favor of keeping the moratorium on fracking disagree.

"That's wishful thinking on a level that's unsupported by the facts," said Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting.

Hang says three things have to happen for the state's fracking review to end: it needs to finish it's health review, complete the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, and complete the rule making for fracking.

"So it's an extraordinarily challenging scenario where all three of those bureaucratic hurdles would be surmounted," said Hang.

Future of Fracking Remains Uncertain in NY

"If it's not safe for all New Yorkers it can't possibly be safe for just the residents of the Southern Tier. The Governor has a really long row to hoe. It's fine that there's opposition in Westchester County toward the fracking wastewater, but there's never been any fracking wastewater dumped in Westchester County or anywhere downstate. It's all being dumped in Central New York, in the Finger Lakes, in the Southern Tier," Hang said.

Drilling Meeting Controversy

Binghamton Matt Ryan was on the offensive today after what he calls erroneous claims made by a pro-drilling agency.

Back on Monday, Matt Ryan attended a meeting hosted by the New York State Petroleum Council. He, like all other elected officials in Broome and Tioga counties, were invited. He also brought a guest, Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting. Hang has helped lead the charge against allowing fracking in New York State.

Towards the end of the forum, Ryan and Hang raised their concerns about fracking during a question and answer period. An article posted by the organization Energy In Depth said that Ryan was not invited and crashed the forum. Ryan says that's clearly false and takes exception to it.

Anti-Fracking Protest

Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting helped organize the protest and says the movement is growing in momentum. Hang says, "A couple of years ago, there'd be 5 or 10 of us here. And you can see, it's just a huge crowd. These people have not gone to work, kids have not gone to school, I'm not at work. We're here to send that message to Governor Cuomo, don't allow fracking in a demonstration project in the Southern Tier unless it's safe for all New Yorkers."

Hydrofracking demonstrators out for Governor’s visit

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- With the governor in town, people on both sides of the ongoing hydrofracking debate were out to make sure their voices were heard.

Pro- and anti- fracking demonstrators greeted Governor Andrew Cuomo during his tour. Both sides say it was important for the governor to see firsthand how the community feels about the issue.

Review of fracking health risks sought


Opponents of hydrofracking said Monday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put the regulatory cart before the horse, with the state Department of Environmental Conservation offering rules to control hydrofracking while a newly launched review of its health impacts remains incomplete.

Opponents at the Capitol called for a public hearing on the potential health risks associated with fracking, something that currently would not be required under the DEC roadmap which will oversee the ultimate decision on whether the natural gas drilling technique should be allowed.
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Walter Hang, an environmental consultant with Toxics Targeting, located in Ithaca, said there are "hundreds" of cases of drinking water contamination and improper disposal of drilling wastes in New York for oil and gas drilling that is already allowed.

He said hundreds of abandoned oil and gas wells could be a pathway for methane and natural gas from new hydrofracked wells to escape into the environment and present a health risk.

Fracking Foes Call on Cuomo to Restart Environmental Review

Opponents of high-volume hydraulic fracturing have sent a message to Governor Cuomo urging him to stop the shale gas rulemaking process involving New York State’s environmental regulatory agency.

The group also called on Cuomo to restart the environmental review proceeding to require public involvement in the state Department of Health impact analysis of potential fracking.

Walter Hang, president of Ithaca-based Toxics Targeting, says the letter was sent to the governor prior to Thursday’s deadline for the Department of Environmental Conservation to wrap up its shale gas rulemaking effort.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Hang said a deadline extension should not be authorized because the health department’s analysis of the DEC health impact study hasn’t been completed.

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