Panel Report on Potential Fracking Fees May Be Pushed Back

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A state advisory panel on hydrofracking in New York may not meet its initial November deadline to report on potential fees to charge gas drillers and impacts of the controversial process on the state.

Rob Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York and a member of the Cuomo administration's environmental department’s fracking advisory committee, said he’s been told to expect to attend meetings until the end of January, which could delay the initial November 1 timetable for the committee to report.

Moore said several other state agencies that need to provide input on how to structure potential fees for gas drillers and other impacts were not yet prepared to do so. A meeting that was planned for October 14 was cancelled.

“You have four of the five agencies involved in this that were clearly caught flat-footed,” Moore said.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, Emily DeSantis, said the DEC anticipates “ the timing of the November report will be discussed at the next panel meeting" on October 25. But she said the panel had planned all along to continue its meetings until February.

The news comes on the same day that prominent fracking advisory committee member Robert Kennedy Jr, a former fracking advocate, expressed grave reservations about the practice in an entry on The Huffington Post.  

Moore did not want to comment on the article, but said his own participation on the panel had “heightened his concerns” about fracking.