Today is the latest deadline from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens to file comments on New York’s proposed new drilling rules, known as the SGEIS. Yesterday, both pro- and anti-drilling groups descended on Albany with thousands of letters of support (or opposition). Prior to yesterday the DEC reported having received over 20,000 written statements. That number, after yesterday, is likely to double.
Pro-drilling groups organized five press conferences throughout the state with more than 500 people attending collectively (see this article). Leaders of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York presented over 11,000 letters of support to the DEC.
What does today’s deadline mean for New York landowners who are anxious to lease their land and for drilling to begin? It means more waiting:
Speaking to reporters last month, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens was asked when the report might be finished. He’s asked that question every time he speaks, Martens noted, “and every time I get asked, the number of comments grows.”
“It will take months, so I can’t say whether it’s going to be three months, four months, five months,” Martens said. “But it will take months to do it properly and make sure we have a document at the end of the day that is truly responsive to the input we’ve gotten from the public.”*
Unfortunately, given Mr. Martens’ previous behavior, if he says it may take five months to wade through the latest round of comments, you may want to double that number.
*Poughkeepsie Journal (Jan 10, 2012) – Hydrofracking energizes New York residents
Other coverage of yesterday’s events:
- Energy in Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative (Jan 11, 2012) – Landowners Deliver More than 11,000 Letters of Support to DEC
- Albany Times Union (Jan 10, 2012) – ‘Boxing match’ tests support for fracking
- Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jan 10, 2012) – Hydrofracking groups make final push as DEC comment period winds down
- CNYCentral.com/AP (Jan 11, 2012) – Gas-drilling fans, foes weigh in on New York rules