August 16, 2011

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Common Cause calls for 180 day comment period on fracking rules

NEW YORK – Common Cause / NY has asked Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens to hold no less than a 180 day comment period and statewide public hearings before the state takes action on hydrofracking to harvest natural gas.

The state’s revised draft supplemental generic environmental statement will give residents 60 days to review the more than 1,000 page document.

While Common Cause wants the comment period tripled from the current 60 days, Associate Director Deanna Bitetti said they have no preconceived opinion on hydrofracking.

“We are not an environmental organization, we are a good government organization that’s really focus on how do we make this process deliberative,” she said. “We do admit, however, to having some concerns to if we rush this forward, mistakes can happen. We all know there are risks associated with fracking.”

Common Cause said there should be public hearings on the revised SGEIS in at least the same four areas where the DEC had hearing in 2009 – Sullivan and Delaware counties, Binghamton and New York City.

Environmental groups opposed to fracking say unknown chemicals are pumped into underground formations like the Marcellus Shale formation, and that can pollute water supplies at the same time as the process strives to force natural gas to the surface.

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