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Officials urge Gov. Cuomo to extend fracking regulations comment deadline

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Albany/HV: Officials urge Gov. Cuomo to extend fracking regulations comment deadline
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As the state’s proposed gas drilling regulations comment deadline approaches, some elected officials are urging Governor Cuomo to grant them an extension. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on why local leaders feel it's necessary.


KINGSTON, N.Y. -- Local Elected Officials to Protect New York are voicing their concerns. Town Supervisors of Rochester, Wawarsing and New Paltz are urging Governor Cuomo to extend the comment period on fracking regulations.

“We’re just asking to give us a 90 day window to hear from the public. The public is critical in matters like this,” said Town of Wawarsing Supervisor Scott Carlsen.

That’s 90 days in addition to the 30 day period the governor originally granted to accommodate the revised fracking regulations that were issued November 29th. Local officials say the current 30 day period is simply not enough time.

“With the holidays right in between it's not truly 30 days in the first place and with our open meetings laws, it’s very difficult for us to schedule meetings for public comment,” said Town of Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman.

The method of extracting natural gas has been a hotly contested issue throughout the state due to safety concerns. That's why the committee is also seeking public participation in the state review of fracking health impacts.

“When it comes to the health and safety of our people, the cleanliness of our water and our air, we can’t be too careful,” said Chipman.

Now advocates within the state feel it’s time for a decision on fracking. They say it would be an opportunity to cut back on foreign oil dependency, create jobs and attract investment.

“The DEC has a good understanding of the benefit of hydrologic fracturing and natural gas development. We are seeing success in other states that New York has not been able to allow here and we think the time has come,” said Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York Spokesman Jim Smith.

But these officials are firm in their beliefs, arguing the governor needs to continue exercising caution when it comes to fracking.

“There’s still a lot that needs to be discussed and understood and I feel everyone needs to feel they are being treated equally because we all live in the great state of New York,” said Town of New Paltz Supervisor Susan Zimet.

As of now, the comment period on fracking regulations ends January 11th.

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