Environmental groups and elected officials opposed to hydraulic fracturing urged the state today to expand its health review of the controversial drilling technique.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation last week filed for a 90-day extension on a Nov. 29 deadline for its hydrofracking regulations. In mid-November, the state tapped three health experts to review the regulations for any public health impacts, and the state said the regulations wouldn’t go forward until the health review is completed.
Critics, however, said Monday that the health review needs further transparency and public input.
“We’re appalled at the way this process has gone forward,” Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan said at a news conference at the Capitol. “The most important part of this whole thing is the public health, and it’s almost like it’s an afterthought.”
The group called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide information about the details of the health review, being overseen by the state Health Department and its commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah. They want a 30-public comment period of the health review and its scope to be expanded.
“The public has no idea how the review is being undertaken and has never been afforded an opportunity to review and comment on it,” said Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca. “The time allocated for the review is ludicrously short and obviously inadequate.”