The state’s much-anticipated report on high-volume hydraulic fracturing has grown to about 4,000 pages, according to New York’s top environmental regulator.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has already compiled “a couple thousand” pages of responses to issues raised during a pair of public-comment periods on draft reports, Commissioner Joe Martens told Gannett’s Albany Bureau on Tuesday.
There is still more work to be done, he said, and there is no firm timetable on when a final report may be released. High-volume hydrofracking is on hold in New York until it is complete.
A September draft weighed in at about 1,537 pages, including appendices.
“It’s almost hard to comprehend, but when I tell people that we’ve been working non-stop and working really hard, people have been,” Martens said. “But all of that has to be reviewed and reviewed by executive staff who are administering the agency day-to-day, doing all of the other responsibilities they had before hydrofracking even started.”
“Virtually all of those things that were written about were ideas that were generated by organizations or individuals that responded to comments,” Martens said. “So are we considering them? We’re considering them because we have to respond to them.”
He continued: “We have to have answers to suggestions and comments that people made through the public-comment period. So we are looking at geographies, we’re looking at the number of applications, what we can handle. We’re trying to come up with a rational plan that works.”
The DEC first launched its review of hydrofracking for natural gas in 2008. High-volume fracking involves the use of water, sand and chemicals injected deep underground to fracture shale formations and release gas.