New York State will again miss a deadline for issuing regulations for natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale formation.The head of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says more time is needed to study the health impacts of fracking.

Missing the February 13 deadline means the February 27th release of the regulations will also be delayed.

In a separate statement, however, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens hinted that the agency may consider issuing fracking permits without the finalization of regulations so long as state health officials don't raise significant concerns. the health review into the safety of fracking is still incomplete and expected to be finished in a few weeks.

Work on formulating guidelines has been underway for about four and a half years.