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Assembly Hearing Set on Proposed Fracking Rules

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Another public hearing on planned regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing is in the works.

Three members of the state Assembly have announced the session will be held in Albany on January 10.

Assembly environmental conservation committee chairman Robert Sweeney and two other committee chairmen have written to DEC commissioner Joseph Martens about concerns they have regarding proposed changes to the department’s fracking regulations.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Sweeney said the health impact assessment of the planned guidelines hasn’t been completed.

Sweeney said he believes it’s “not appropriate” for the DEC to work on finalizing regulations while the health impact has not been determined.

The Suffolk County Democrat noted the agency removed an earlier set of proposed fracking regulations from its website.

Sweeney said the format of the regulations also was revised, making it “very difficult” to compare the old regulations with the new regulations.

Sweeney said the DEC responded to that concern by saying if people wanted that information, it would be sent to them.

But, he said, that’s not an “open and up-front way” to do business.

Sweeney said that move makes some people wonder what the agency is “really up to if they’re not sharing all this information in a way they normally would.”

Sweeney and the two other Assembly committee chairmen have called on DEC to repost the original proposed regulations on its website and a detailed line-by-line comparison of the possible changes that are being considered.

Sweeney said he’s expecting a big turnout for next month’s Assembly hearing with New Yorkers speaking both in favor and against the move to authorize the use of fracking to obtain natural gas across much of the state.

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