Common Cause/NY, a far-left organization, is the latest anti-drilling group desperately seeking a way to stop Marcellus and Utica drilling in New York State. Their tactic? Turn the already-generous 60-day public comment period (that hasn’t even started yet!) on proposed new drilling rules into 180 days—that is, let’s stretch out the comment period from two months to six months to give everyone who opposes drilling a chance to bleat and moan before local news cameras for the next six months on the off chance we can turn a few more people against this thing and finally kill it. That’s the so-called “non-partisan” approach of Common Cause.
From their press release:
Common Cause/NY and advocates concerned about the environmental impacts of dirty gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," called on Governor Cuomo and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today to hold no less than a 180-day comment period and statewide public hearings on the state’s proposed fracking guidelines, formally known as the revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statement (SGEIS). The SGEIS will be more than a 1,000 pages long and once this huge document is released to the public, New Yorkers get just 60 days to read, make sense of, and share their concerns about how fracking could be conducted in New York State. Common Cause/NY members and members of organizations representing thousands of New Yorkers across the state, as well as elected officials voiced similar concerns.
In addition to planned events around the state, the coalition released a letter to the Governor and Commissioner Martens calling for an extension of the comment period to 180 days along with public hearings in at least the same four areas where the DEC held hearings on the 2009 draft fracking document, Binghamton, Sullivan County, New York City and Delaware County. We called on state leaders to hold hearings in as many communities as possible across the state. In 2009 many New Yorkers in these areas did not have the opportunity to attend a public hearing or make their voices heard on this critical issue. We want to ensure there is not a repeat in 2011.
"New Yorkers have the right to hold the gas industry accountable and help ensure our water and communities are protected. We deserve time to make sure we understand how our state could be impacted by fracking and what regulations are needed. As good government advocates, we know how important it is to give the public adequate time to participate in the comment process- and 60 days is not long enough. New Yorkers deserve a thorough and deliberative process that includes holding hearings in as many places as possible to garner feedback," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY
The DEC’s preliminary revised draft fracking assessment with proposed guidelines was released in July. The complete revised draft is expected to be released for public comment and review in late summer or early fall.*
*Common Cause/NY Press Release (Aug 15, 2011) – Common Cause/NY asks Gov. Cuomo & DEC for 180-Day Comment Period & Public Hearings for Fracking Guidelines