State lawmakers joined a bevy of conservation and anti-drilling groups Monday to call on the state to triple the length of a comment period on its latest review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, D-Suffolk County, were among a handful of lawmakers to request a 180-day comment period and a series of public hearings across the state. The two chair the Legislature's environmental conservation committees.

As it stands, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is now preparing for a 60-day comment period to begin later this month and hasn't made a final decision on any hearings.

"New York state would be foolish to rush into permitting hydraulic fracturing for natural gas," Sweeney said. "Technical experts and average New Yorkers need time to evaluate the state's proposal ... to make sure that if drilling moves forward, we are not compromising our communities, our environment or our long-term sustainability."

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