State Releases Draft Regulations on Controversial Fracking

State environmental regulators formally issued draft regulations on Wednesday for the controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region of southern New York.

The document, originally posted online in July, sketched out rules for permitting gas-drilling companies to pump water, chemicals and sand into deep wells at high pressure to release natural gas from shale.

The state has not permitted fracking in the Marcellus Shale since it began drafting new permitting rules three years ago.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has already a draft environmental analysis and will accept public comments on both documents until December 12.

Eric Goldstein, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the proposed rules have the same problems environmentalists identified in an earlier draft that was posed online in July.

“Lack of full protection for water supplies, inadequate safeguards on the issue of hazardous wastes," Goldstein said. "And no effective mechanism for preventing widespread industrialization of the landscapes."

He accused the DEC of depriving the public the chance for meaningful review by proposing a complex regulatory scheme on a short timetable.

The department did not make anyone available for comment.

DEC hearings are scheduled November 16 in Dansville, N.Y., November 17 in Binghamton, N.Y., November 29 in Sheldrake, N.Y. and November 30 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan.