By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief
The state’s environmental agency has granted an additional 30 days for public comment on hydrofracking, to 90 days, and has agreed to four public hearings, three in the Marcellus shale region and one in New York City on its draft final report on gas drilling.
The new 90 day comment period was welcomed by environmentalists, though they say they would have liked double that amount of time.
The gas drilling industry, represented by the Independent Oil and Gas Association, does not object to the longer comment period.
“90 days seems appropriate in light of the fact that there is significant new material contained in the revised report,” said spokesman Paul Larrabee.
Larrabee says the gas drillers are still studying the report and will make reserve comments on specifics until the hearings.
The report estimates that anywhere from around 33,000 to over 47,000 jobs could be created from fracking and related services. It also says and that increased truck traffic, noise and visually unattractive well sites could be a problem.
The report says the state should also require that drilling companies consider using green chemicals first, before using the more potentially hazardous mixtures to extract the gas.