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Irene Cleanup Forces Delay of New York Fracking Report

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which had been scheduled on Wednesday to release the final draft of a report on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), said the report has been delayed because the department is too busy assisting with cleanup related to Hurricane Irene.

Most of the draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS) was issued in July (see Shale Daily, July 5). The SGEIS calls for full disclosure of fracking chemicals used and would ban the well stimulation technique in all of New York's primary aquifers, the watersheds of New York City and Syracuse, and all state-owned land.

"DEC continues to be focused on hurricane response and recovery," DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis told NGI's Shale Daily. "Therefore, we will release the revised draft SGEIS next week."

The SGEIS is to provide the framework for DEC's high-volume fracking permit process. In July 2008 then-Gov. David Paterson directed DEC to prepare the SGEIS, which effectively placed a moratorium on most of the Marcellus Shale development in the state (see Daily GPI, July 28, 2008). The SGEIS was requested because the original GEIS was completed in 1992, before current shale development technology was on the table.

A public comment period is to be launched once the full report is released. The comment period was set at 60 days, but following criticism from lawmakers and some stakeholders, DEC said it would announce whether the period would be extended when the final draft is issued.

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