FEMA Extends Flood Relief Deadlines; State Should Do the Same with Fracking

FEMA deadline extension illustrates the need for more time to consider natural gas drilling rules
November 1, 2011

Albany – Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill reiterated his call for the Department of Environmental Conservation to extend the public review period for proposed regulations on hydrofracking:

“Time is running out to weigh in on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Too many families, businesses and farmers are still struggling with the aftermath of flooding. FEMA recognizes this, which is why they have extended their relief deadlines. The DEC needs to do the same when it comes to considering guidelines for drilling that is expected to occur in the areas most devastated by the storms.

“Much of the region where drilling activity is expected to occur was impacted by one of the most catastrophic events ever to hit Upstate New York. Entire communities were displaced, businesses are still struggling to reopen and local governments are grappling with rebuilding. The decisions surrounding natural gas drilling are going to have a profound impact on these communities for years to come. The DEC needs to give these areas more time to give the proposal the scrutiny it deserves, especially when considering the dramatically altered landscape and outdated flood maps.

“Flooding has become an unavoidable fact of life for a significant portion of the Marcellus Shale territory. The State should take the time to update flood prevention and response plans before moving ahead with a process that could have serious environmental and public health impacts; this includes bring our flood plain maps up to date.

“In addition to the dislocation flood victims are experiencing, many now have the added burden of an uncharacteristic October snow storm. The DEC must adjust to accommodate new weather patterns brought on by climate change. I once again urge the DEC to extend the public comment period to at least 180 days and renew the moratorium on drilling in a manner consistent with the legislation passed by the Assembly.”