Last month Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens said he anticipated an eventual legal challenge to any rules the agency creates for regulating HVHF in the state, and he asked Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to conduct a health impact analysis of the practice (see Shale Daily, Sept. 24). The newspaper said it agreed with the observation by DEC officials and drilling supporters: that Martens’ decision would probably cause enough of a delay to require an additional public comment period (see Shale Daily, Oct. 4; Oct. 2).

The DEC had been working its way to a several-times delayed conclusion of supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS), begun in 2008 which effectively placed a moratorium on most of the shale development in the state (see ShaleDaily, Dec. 10, 2010). It had been expected to issue its statement by the end of this year.

“We are in no position to judge what combination of politics and legal judgment pushed New York toward this latest delay, and we’re all for making sure that fracking is safe,” the editorial said. “But anti-fracking activists who hope delay begets delay and eventually prohibition are doing the environment no favor.”

The newspaper added that fracking is creating an abundance of natural gas, driving prices lower and motivating utilities to use it for power generation instead of coal, a sentiment shared by industry executives, regulators and analysts (see related story and Shale Daily, Sept. 13; Sept. 4; July 17).

“True, half the [carbon] emissions does not mean no emissions,” the editorial said. “But the United States does not have to eliminate its carbon footprint all at once, nor should it. Doing so would cost far too much. Instead, natural gas can play a big role in transitioning to cleaner energy cheaply…environmentalists, in other words, should hope fracking is safe — and permitted.”

In August, the Post published an opinion piece by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and George Mitchell, an unconventional drilling pioneer (see Shale Daily, Aug. 28). The pair announced that they support fracking and had donated a combined $7.6 million to a campaign whose goal is to ensure stringent rules governing fracking are adopted in 14 states.