Governor Andrew Cuomo today confirmed that New York will miss the November 29th deadline to finish its health review on hydro-fracking. Speaking on 1300-AM, WGDJ Radio in Albany, Cuomo said a new health panel would not be realistically able to complete its review by next week, “We want a proper process. We want it expeditiously as possible. I don’t see how we get it done by next week.”
Hydro-fracking is a technique in which water, sand and chemicals are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock and release natural gas.
Environmental groups have warned that hydro-fracking would pose health hazards, particularly in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale that extends across New York’s Southern Tier.
It’s been less than two weeks since the state Department of Health announced the names of three outside experts to assist in reviewing the fracking regulations, proposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The experts will advise on the potential health impacts of hydro-fracking.
The missed deadline means that there is the possibility the state will have to conduct another round of public hearings on fracking.
The oil and gas industry has expressed its frustration at the delay in the process. The industry has pushed Cuomo to allow fracking, saying it would be a boon for New York’s economy.
Cuomo has said the health review is not a step backward toward approving regulations. Some legal experts say the state could avoid future litigation by completing a health review before issuing fracking permits.
The state is expected to seek a 90-day extension of the proposed regulations. One of the experts on the health panel told Gannett’s Albany Bureau last week that they were charged with completing their review by mid-February—which would fall within that time period.