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Post date: November 8 2011

Statement From A.G. Schneiderman Regarding The Feds' Proposed Fracking Regulations

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement in response to revised draft hydrofracking regulations posted today by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), with the approval of its supporting federal agencies.

“By issuing these modified draft regulations, the federal government continues to ignore New Yorkers’ concerns about the impact fracking may have on our environment, health and homes. Though modified, these regulations still lack the benefit of a full environmental impact study, which is required by law and dictated by common sense. Without it, the federal government does not have a complete understanding of the health and safety risks fracking poses, even as it stands to open up the Delaware River Basin to thousands of new gas wells. These regulations are both inadequate and illegal, and I will continue to use the full authority of my office to require that the federal government meet its clear legal obligation to fully study the environmental impacts of fracking in the Basin.”   

Attorney General Schneiderman filed a lawsuit on May 31 against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal government agencies that determine federal policy on the Basin, for failing to perform a full environmental review of proposed regulations that would allow substantial natural gas development – including the controversial fracking technique – in the Delaware River Basin.  The Attorney General demanded that the federal agencies comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a law requiring such agencies to conduct a full review of actions that may cause significant environmental impacts.  

Today, the DRBC posted draft regulations for natural gas development in the Basin that “modify” regulations originally published on December 9, 2010.  The Commission has scheduled a vote on these modified draft regulations on November 21.  The DRBC estimates that its proposed regulations would allow thousands of new natural gas wells in the four-state, 13,500 square mile Basin, most of which are expected to be developed by fracking.

The Delaware River Basin covers 2,300 square miles of New York, including portions of Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Schoharie, Greene, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan Counties, as well as almost 60 percent of New York City’s West-of-Hudson drinking watershed, which provides most of the drinking water used by over nine million New York residents and visitors.