Below is the full letter from DEC Commissioner Joe Martens on the end of the comment period on the state's draft hydrofracking regulations.
As others have pointed out, the last two paragraphs could signal a move by Martens to allay concerns about the speed at which the department was moving. I've highlighted the lines some are reading as good signs for opponents of the drilling process:
There has been an unprecedented response to this issue with tens of thousands of comments submitted. All comments are being carefully considered as we develop the final rules and conditions for high-volume hydraulic fracturing. In addition, the final documents will include responses to the comments in responsiveness summaries.
DEC has carefully studied this issue for nearly four years and we continue to study each and every issue associated with this activity. DEC’s number one priority is to ensure conditions for high-volume hydraulic fracturing fully protect public health and the environment. If high-volume hydraulic fracturing moves forward in New York, it will move forward with the strictest standards in the nation to ensure New York’s drinking water and other natural resources are thoroughly protected.
Public input is an important part of establishing responsible conditions for high-volume hydraulic fracturing as well as determining whether it can be done safely. Many significant improvements were made to the 2009 draft based on comments DEC received. We expect additional improvements will be made to the 2011 draft based on the comments submitted during this comment period.