Libous: Fund DEC To For Timely Hydrofracking Permits
Posted by: Nick Reisman - Posted in Uncategorized on Mar 08, 2011
Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, said today he would favor more funding for the Department of Environmental Conservation if it translated to a timely permitting process for hydraulic fracturing.
Libous, the deputy majority leader, favors using the process to access natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region. The process is controversial and newly confirmed DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens has faced his share of questioning on the subject.
Martens today was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate.
Libous, who was initially skeptical with the open-space advocate, said Martens’ he was pleased with Martens’ confirmation.
“He recognizes that they have experts at DEC, both scientists and geologists,” Libous said. “I’m always optimistic that we’ll be granting permits for natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale.”
The agency’s staff has been reduced greatly over the last several years, which agency officials have said would make it difficult to adequately enforce and grant permits – which has produced concern from both environmentalists and energy companies.
Libous said he would favor increasing the agency’s funding in order to ensure safety and a timely permitting process.
“I understand he needs staff for enforcement,” Libous said. “I would love to see them granting permits by the end of this year.”
The DEC is expected to complete its draft environmental impact statement on the subject by June.