A trio of assemblymen is calling on the Department of Environmental Conservation to immediately suspend a soon-to-close comment period on the state’s proposed regulations for hydrofracking.
In a letter to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens and state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, the three assemblymen criticized the agencies for keeping a review of the potential health impacts of fracking under wraps.
The lawmakers—Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Robert Sweeney, D-Suffolk County; Health Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan; and Charles Lavine, D-Nassau County, chairman of the Administrative Regulation Review Commission—cited an internal 2012 assessment from the Health Department and DEC that found fracking could be conducted safely in New York with proper safeguards.
“The Department of Health is still reviewing the health impacts of fracking, although the extent of that review is not clear, and the FOIL demands for disclosure of studies and data have not yet been fulfilled,” the assemblymen wrote. “If the public is to provide meaningful comment on the proposed regulations, the public should be able to see the studies and analysis that were produced at public expense.”
The letter comes at an interesting time. The three lawmakers are set to host a hearing on the fracking regulations on Thursday—a day before the 30-day comment period is set to close.
According to the letter, both the Health Department and DEC have been invited to testify at the hearing. It wasn’t immediately clear if either agency would participate.
Here’s the press release. The letter itself is on page 2 and 3.