Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Martens: DEC may or may not hit Friday deadline for fracking report

Friday this week is July 1st. This is the deadline given by Governor Coumo for the DEC to submit the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus shale. They have been working on it since at least December 2010 and were given an initial soft deadline of June 1st by former Governor David Patterson. Now we find they may not yet be finished. Can't say I am surprised....

Martens: DEC may or may not hit Friday deadline for fracking report

With a Friday deadline looming, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said today that his office is “working full time” on a report detailing the permitting process for hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.

But the commissioner said the report may or may not be completed on time for July 1, as requested by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

“We’re still working on it, so stay tuned,” Martens told reporters exiting a meeting of Cuomo’s cabinet. “We’ll tell you later in the week whether we’re going to make the deadline or not.”

Martens said the report—which is a revised draft of one released in 2009—may be partially released Friday.

“We’ll see again what we get out Friday versus days after Friday. We’re in the production process right now.”

High-volume hydrofracking has been on hold since former Gov. David Paterson ordered the DEC to complete the review in July 2008. It remains on hold until the report, called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, is finalized, which won’t happen until the department holds a public comment period on the new draft and has time to deal with suggestions and shortcomings.

Courtesy of YNN’s Capital Tonight, here’s video of Martens addressing reporters:

For added background on this and the historical battle between natural gas and New York state you should check out Andy Leahy at NY Shale Gas Now blog site. He has lots of background and seven reasons why the July 1st deadline and the SGEIS report will do nothing to hasten gas production in the Southern Tier or Upstate.

July 1, 2011, that's the day, Cuomo said so — the day New York's landowners would finally see some regulatory headway on shale gas.

As this date approaches with a crescendo (and surely passes us by, with one roar or another), I think it's worth reminding everyone of some insufficiently considered recent history in New York State.

As of July 1, folks who happen to wittingly or unwittingly own shale gas under upstate New York will have been restrained in the exercise of their private property rights for nearly three full calendar years, and by seven different shale gas moratoriums.

Seven! (Yes, it's true, that's including two bans which were proposed, but which were pushed back in the final hours.)

But, still, seven! It's not a good sign. Let's break it down.

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