With a Nov. 29 deadline still looming, there’s been little—if any—movement on the state’s health-centric review of large-scale hydrofracking.
Bill Schwarz, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, said Wednesday that the agency has not yet come to an agreement with “outside experts” who will help assess the state’s hydrofracking recommendations.
“We don’t have the final plan worked out with the outside experts,” Schwarz said. “The scope of work is still being worked on and we hope to have that developed soon. When we have that, we’ll announce the specifics—including the scope of work, the number of consultants and the financial arrangements we can share.”
Under pressure from fracking critics and the state’s medical community, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah in September was tasked with appointing independent experts to review the Department of Environmental Conservation’s recommendations for dulling the negative impacts of fracking.
Hydrofracking with more than 300,000 gallons of liquid has been on hold in New York as the DEC completes an environmental and regulatory review of the technique. That review was first launched in 2008.
Neither the DEC nor the Health Department provided comment Tuesday when asked for an update on the process.
As of 5 p.m., the DEC still hasn’t responded to a set of written questions on the state of its review—specifically whether the agency believes it can hit a Nov. 29 regulatory deadline. If final regulations for fracking aren’t issued by then, the agency would have to reopen their proposals to public comment.