New York debates natural gas rules

Feb. 6, 2013 at 8:19 AM

ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Concerns about the extraction of shale natural gas in New York state suggests the government may miss a regulations deadline, a commissioner said.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2011 released recommendations surrounding shale gas operations in the state. Those recommendations could open about 85 percent of the Marcellus shale play in New York to development but keep operators away from key watersheds and aquifers.

A budget hearing in New York put Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens at the center of a debate over hydraulic fracturing in the state. Martens said he might miss a Feb. 27 deadline for fracking regulations because he didn't have a public health review from the state Department of Health.

"I have to wait until I get the health report until we make any decisions about whether we move forward or not," he was quoted by energy web site Rigzone as saying.

Any recommendations from the Health Department could delay fracking measures in the state, meaning existing proposed regulations would expire and cause further setbacks, Rigzone reports.

Some state leaders testified that shale natural gas wasn't the clean energy resource touted by its supporters.

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