Fracking Deadline Draws Near

By Michelle Costanza

February 5, 2013 Updated Feb 5, 2013 at 7:25 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) A decision about whether high volume hydraulic fracturing should be permitted in New York is supposed to be made by by Feb. 27.

But like past deadlines for statewide rules that would govern the controversial method, this latest deadline could once again be made arbitrary.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens told lawmakers Monday that final regulations would likely not be ready for at least a couple of weeks. The delay could be made longer as the DEC awaits a health impact study from the State Health Department.

Those in favor of bringing hydraulic fracturing to the Empire State say they've met their end, and that another missed deadline is unacceptable.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which supports the practice, says heath studies have already been done, as are social economic studies.

"Our 770,000 members are absolutely outraged by this," said JLCNY President Dan Fitzsimmons. "We've waited long enough for natural gas to come, this has been a four-and-a-half-year process. The governor has made a mockery of this whole process."

Fitzsimmons added that in the 28 states that allow fracking, there has been no contamination of drinking water aquifers. He also said New York needs the jobs and the economic boost that he says fracking can provide.

A Sienna Poll released Monday showed New Yorkers remain divided on the issue of fracking.