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Fracking health study needs more time

February 13, 2013

ALBANY, NY — In a letter to Joe Martens, commissioner of the New York Department of Conservation (DEC), Dr. Nirav Shah, commissioner of the New York Department of Health (DOH), said his review of the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing would require a few more weeks to complete, which means that a deadline regarding the SGEIS will be pushed back.

Shah wrote “I have determined - and prudence dictates - that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues.” He said he and his team would be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days, researching three studies related to fracking and drinking water.

While this will delay the issuance of the new rules regarding fracking and the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), it does not necessarily mean, according to Martens, that the issuance of permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing would be delayed. Martens said in a statement, “If the DOH Public Health Review finds that the SGEIS has adequately addressed health concerns, and I adopt the SGEIS on that basis, DEC can accept and process high-volume hydraulic fracturing permit applications 10 days after issuance of the SGEIS.”