Thousands of comments expected on SGEIS; parties weigh in on comment period
By Fritz Mayer
September 14, 2011
The proposed rules regarding gas drilling in New York State have already triggered more than 13,000 comments from the public. With the release of the final draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) on September 7, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is expecting thousands more in the next 90 days.
Because of the projected high volume, the DEC is only accepting comments through the department’s website (http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html) and through the mail (dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510). No faxed or emailed comments will be accepted.
Current plans call for the comment period to end on December 12. Some groups have said this is not enough time to study the document, which runs more than 1,000 pages, but others say the process has dragged on long enough.
Meanwhile, some groups have begun to comment on the substance of the SGEIS. Catskill Mountainkeeper, for instance, said the SGEIS does not include an adequate health assessment of drilling and hydraulic fracturing. A statement on their website said, “The governor is acting like fracking is a done deal. Albany insiders tell us that fracking revenues are being put in the 2012 budget. This, and the unwillingness to extend the comment period to at least 180 days and review health impacts, makes it look like the hearing process is to satisfy appearances only.”
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