Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Elmira/Corning

Southern Tier divided over 90 day hydrofracking extension

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Southern Tier divided over 90 day hydrofracking extension
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The clock is running out on one of the most heated debates in the state. The hydrofracking decision is expected to be pushed past Thursday. The DEC is applying for a 90 day extension on proposed regulations. Our Melissa Kakareka shows us how the delay is impacting people in the Southern Tier.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Christy Everitt leased her land for gas drilling several years ago. But her property remains untouched.

"It's probably less frustrating for me because I at least have the lease, but it is frustrating. And probably more frustrating, of course, to the people who will not get a lease," said Vestal resident Christy Everitt.

Fracking advocates had hoped to see a decision on the procedure by now. But New York will miss its November 29th deadline to complete the proposed regulations. In part, it is because an ongoing health impacts review isn't done.

The DEC will now apply for a 90 day extension instead of restarting the entire review process, which would delay a decision even further. Southern Tier landowners say it's a promising sign for the industry.

"We're cautiously optimistic that this is signaling that there is an end in sight. The governor seems to be telling us that this issue will be wrapped up by the end of February," said Joint Landowners Coalition of New York Attorney Scott Kurkowski.

But anti-fracking advocates feel that 90 days isn't long enough. They say they want a more transparent health assessment before discussions about regulations continue.

"What this 90 day extension would do is, in essence, push for rules that aren't really based on the science. They are based on a political timeline," said Citizen Action Environmental Organizer Isaac Silberman-Gorn.

"They are going to go forward with the rule making before they even have the health impacts done. It's insanity. It's time for the governor to call a time out," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.

It's an issue that continues to leave the community divided as both sides wait for a decision.

The 90 day extension includes a 30 day public comment period on the DEC's revised draft.

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