Read the new DEC commissioner's speech

Newly appointed state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens is the former president of the New York-based Open Space Institute. Last year, he gave a speech on the Marcellus Shale and hydraulic fracturing at Union College in Schenectady as part of an event marking the 40th anniversary of the DEC.

The following is a transcript of that speech as posted on the Open Space Institute website:

This morning you heard about drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Of all the daunting environmental challenges that DEC has faced during the past 40 years—criteria pollutants, hazardous waste, acid rain, even climate change—hydrofracking in the Marcellus may be the most difficult and daunting of them all.

As a nation, for a decade or more there has been a near-universal call for energy independence. If we could just wean ourselves from foreign oil, the argument goes, we would not be in the middle of two wars in the Middle East and sending billions of dollars to nations that don’t like us and, potentially, might do us harm.

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