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NY agency to seek extension on drilling regs

Associated Press Modified: November 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm •  Published: November 27, 2012

On Tuesday, a group of health professionals led by David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany's School of Public Health, launched a new initiative on the health risks of shale gas development. They urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to commit to a 90-day extension but instead allow the proposed regulations to expire and draft new ones based on a comprehensive health impact assessment.

Kate Sinding of the Natural Resources Defense Council said it would be a "monumental error" for DEC to file for a 90-day extension, which would require it to release revised proposed regulations within a couple of weeks, before any recommendations of the health experts could be incorporated. Instead, she said DEC should allow the regulations to expire and propose new ones after the health review is completed.

But Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, said, "Given the Governor's decision to conduct a health review on hydraulic fracturing, DEC's move to extend by 90 days the implementation of regulations guiding this job-creating practice is a fair and appropriate step."

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which represents about 77,000 landowners seeking leases with gas drillers, said the announcement about a 90-day extension was cause for optimism that "an end is in sight to the over 4 ½-year long regulatory process for high-volume hydraulic fracturing."

A group of farmers, landowners, businesses, and gas industry representatives launched an ad campaign on Tuesday calling on state officials to wrap up the environmental impact study and let drilling begin.