Fracking Update: Permit process hits speed bump

02 Nov, 2011

By Joyce Newman, Environmental Reporter

The Marcellus Shale Source: USGS

Environmental groups are celebrating after Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said that he doesn’t think the state will be ready to issue permits next year for industrial gas drilling by fracking. ( See our previous coverage.)

A slowdown for the permit process was noted in part of the Commissioner’s remarks after a meeting of the state’s Fracking Advisory Panel. Listen here.

The panel was created last summer to help the state determine what resources and staff New York State agencies, like the DEC, Department of Health, Transportation, and more, will need if fracking is permitted.

The panel was supposed to have its recommendations ready by November 1. But some state agencies need more time to do estimates.

According to the New York Times, after the advisory panel meeting last Tuesday, Mr. Martens said the timing was “hard to predict.”

One member of the panel, Eric A. Goldstein, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said this was “an encouraging sign that the fracking express may be slowing down to a more moderate speed.”

The Times also quoted Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, who said the industry was committed to “getting it right.”

The advisory panel’s next meeting is Nov. 9. Panel members include:

Stan Lundine, former NYS Lt. Governor

Kathleen McGinty, Former Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Clinton

Eric A. Goldstein and Kate Sinding, Senior Attorneys, Natural Resources Defense Council

Robert Hallman, Board Chair, NY League of Conservation Voters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert Moore, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates

Mark Brownstein, Chief Counsel, Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund

Heather Briccetti, Acting President & CEO, Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Robert B. Catell, Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at SUNY Stony Brook

Mark K. Boling, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Southwestern Energy

Senator Tom Libous, Deputy Majority Leader

Donna Lupardo, Assembly member

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