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DEC Chief Rejects Outside Study of Fracking Health Impacts, Asks Health Dept. to Get More Involved
The state’s top environmental regulator today dismissed calls for a lengthy, independent analysis of the health impacts of natural-gas drilling, instead calling on the Department of Health to appoint a panel to review the state’s assessments.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens issued a lengthy statement late Thursday, acknowledging that he had been discussing the possibility of a health analysis with “parties on all sides of this issue” before laying out a compromise, of sorts.
Here’s a sample from Martens’ lengthy statement:
I have recently met with several of the groups who have raised public health concerns and it is clear they are not satisfied with the Department’s effort to address potential public health impacts. The groups would require that DEC conduct an outside health study that would determine the outcome of the final decision. I reject that demand. I believe it is highly likely that some of these groups will pursue litigation following the conclusion of the Departmental process if they do not agree with the outcome.
Instead, Martens said, he has asked state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to assess the DEC’s own review of hydrofracking’s health impacts, and to appoint a panel of outside experts to advise him. A final DEC decision on whether high-volume hydrofracking can proceed in New York, he wrote, will wait until after Shah and the outside experts weigh in.
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