Martens faces tough crowd at fracking hearing

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens defended himself and his agency at an Assembly hearing that was called to allow individuals who feel strongly about the DEC's draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement on hydraulic fracking to voice their opinions on the issue "For more than three years, DEC has been intensively studying the potential environmental impacts of the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale formations in New York State," Martens told the panel of lawmakers who sit on the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

"We have held 10 hearings to date on the scope of the study and on the 2009 draft of the SGEIS, received more than 13,000 comments and consulted with numerous states on issues they have confronted involving high-volume hydraulic fracturing. We have used the time since the 2009 draft SGEIS was published to learn from the experiences in other states and identify measures that will protect our drinking water, our streams, our air and our land," Martens said.

Assemblyman and Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Robert Sweeney, D-Babylon, was joined with ten other members of his committee as well as Steven Englebright, D-Setauket, to hear testimony on the revised draft SGEIS and question the witnesses on their claims. The Assembly members had many questions for Martens and his fellow witnesses; DEC General Counsel Steve Russo, Executive Deputy Commissioner Marc Gerstman, and Deputy Commissioner Eugene Leff.

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