A coalition of gas-drilling opponents and advocacy groups flooded the state Department of Environmental Conservation with feedback on its plan to allow the storage of liquefied natural gas, as the public-comment period on the proposals drew to a close Wednesday evening.
The groups, which included New Yorkers Against Fracking and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, delivered what they said were more than 50,000 comments opposed to the DEC’s plan, which would lift a four-decade-long ban on siting new liquefied natural gas, or LNG, facilities in New York.
“This outpouring and huge show of opposition, as well as the substance of the comments themselves, overwhelmingly show these regulations must be withdrawn,” said Alex Beauchamp, northeast director for Food & Water Watch, a Washington D.C.-based group.
The fracking critics tapped into their extensive network to organize a comment-writing drive for the length of the two-month public feedback session, which resulted in the boxes of submissions dropped off at the DEC’s Albany headquarters on Wednesday. It’s a similar strategy to one employed against the DEC’s now-expired proposed regulations with fracking, which resulted in more than 200,000 submissions from the group.
The comment period ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
In a statement, a spokesman for the state DEC fired back at the anti-fracking groups, saying the rules “have nothing whatsoever to do with fracking and everything to do with putting cleaner trucks on our highways.”
“The regulations will facilitate the siting of LNG refueling stations for long haul trucking while creating tough new standards regarding storage and safe handling,” said Peter Constantakes, the spokesman.
Now, the DEC is faced with the task of reviewing and logging the comments and responding to any substantive issues raised. The agency has until next October to finalize the rules, allow them to expire or seek a single 90-day extension.
Here’s video of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter’s Roger Downs discussing his group’s opposition to the rules: