Speaking for the first time after the state released its latest report on hydrofracking, Department of Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens defended the department’s decision to move forward with proposed regulations and an Environmental Impact Statement at the same time, despite claims from conservation groups that it is fast-tracking the process.

The DEC last week said it would put out a set of proposed regulations in October that when finalized would govern high-volume hydrofracking in New York, and that a comment period on the document would run in tandem with one on the department’s Environmental Impact Statement.

The regulations will include the recommendations made in the impact statement, which the DEC has been developing for three years. From an enforcement standpoint, formal regulations have more teeth than the impact statement, holding the same force as state law.

Martens said holding the comment period concurrently increases efficiency, and said the regulations are being developed specifically because the environmental groups asked for them.

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