Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DEC releases Draft Fracking Regs

Last week the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed for a 90-day extension to allow time for the health review that is part of the SGEIS. At the same time, they posted a draft of the new high volume horizontal hydraulic fracking regulations. DEC will accept public comments on the draft regulations from December 12, 2012 through 5:00 PM on January 11, 2013.

The proposed regs include a newly adopted “Part 560” which outlines “Operations Associated with High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing”. That’s where you’ll find setbacks (500 feet from inhabited buildings and water wells), requirements for disclosure of fracking chemicals – after completing the well – and water testing.

That section alone runs more than 10,000 words, and it seems a Grinch-like thing to do when most folks are trying to bake cookies for the troops serving overseas and otherwise attending to family holiday preparations. It’s unfortunate that DEC released the draft regulations before the health study is complete, but a deadline’s a deadline.

The comment period starts next week, Dec. 12 and runs for 30 days. You can read the draft regulations here. And check out Tom Wilbur's assessment of the regulatory process here.

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