Speaking on Capital Radio this morning, Governor Cuomo has confirmed what most people already suspected. The state will miss the November 29th deadline required for the completion of review of the health impact study, a component of the draft DEC regulations that would govern fracking in New York.
“We want a proper process. We want it expeditiously as possible. I don’t see how we get it done by next week”, the governor is quoted as saying.
The external experts appointed to work with the Department of Health on the review were only announced on November the 16th, and the intervention of Hurricane Sandy also diverted resources away from the review.
The missed deadline means that we may see some frantic filing in the next week as the state seeks to get a 90-day extension to file, under a provision of the New York State Administrative Procedure Act.
The missed deadline means that there is the possibility that the state will have to conduct another round of public hearings on fracking.
Reports say that mid-February has been mentioned as the likely timeframe for the health review to be finalized, and this means that the earliest that the review would be filed (assuming the state files for an extension) is March 1st.
The Oil and Gas lobby recently expressed its ongoing frustration at the delay in the process, and earlier this week a coalition of local government administrators protested against fracking in Albany.
A robust health review is essential if the state is to avoid potential litigation from environmental groups, as Marie Cusick has reported.