In a significant setback for the environmental movement's battle against hydraulic fracking, the controversial process of using high-pressure liquid to squeeze oil and gas out of rock beds, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office announced that it will be delaying rules that will oversee the energy extraction industry.
State officials had set a November 29 deadline to have the regulations written, following the establishing of a special committee that would draft the final version of these rules. Additionally, a review will be undertaken to determine whether fracking poses health hazards to residents in the areas where the drilling is being performed. However, recent statements from Governor Cuomo suggest that a speedy conclusion to the proceedings is becoming a remote possibility.
"This is a big decision for the state," he said in a statement. "It has potential economic benefits if the state goes forward with fracking, but we want to make sure it's safe, and we want to make sure the environment is protected, people are protected and that's why we're doing a health assessment."
According to the Associated Press, the failure to meet the deadline could set the entire process back at least six months. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which is responsible for the health review, would effectively have to reset its rulemaking proceedings due to the expiration of the public comment period, which was initially slated to last one year. The DEC would have 90 days to resubmit their proposal and take an additional 90 to reconfigure the regulations.
Those in the state will surely be dismayed by these developments, as they are a significant setback for environmentalists who allege that fracking is bad for both the landscape and the residents of Central and Northern New York. Keep with Life Is Green for the latest updates on the status of this controversial drilling practice.