The NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was just following the law when it showed gas drillers summaries of draft hydrofracking regulations last year before the regulations were made public, an agency spokeswoman said. An environmental group criticized DEC for allowing drillers to see the draft regulations weeks before they were made available for public comment.
DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said state agencies are required by the State Administrative Procedures Act, to assess the impacts of regulations on the industry to be regulated.
“Agencies cannot gather this data without holding meetings and engaging in other forms of communication with the regulated community prior to proposing the regulation,” DeSantis said in a statement. “To gather important feedback from stakeholders, DEC has regularly and routinely met with environmental groups, industry, local government representatives and other stakeholders as it develops the final (environmental report) for high-volume hydraulic fracturing.”
The law requires DEC and other agencies to “consider utilizing approaches which are designed to avoid undue deleterious economic effects or overly burdensome impacts of the rule upon” people or companies. DeSantis said DEC asked drillers to estimate the costs of complying with the draft regulations.
The Environmental Working Group released e-mails it had obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law showing correspondence between drilling company representatives and the DEC weeks before an environmental report on hydrofracking was released last year.
The DEC environmental report was released last September. More than 74,000 comments have been received on the report, and DEC officials are still working on responses. No deadline has been set for a decision on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York.
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Environmental group says state gave gas drillers early look at hydrofracking regulations