After taking over 20,000 public comments, more than on any issue they have ever faced, New York environmental officials are getting ready for the final phase of work on their proposal to allow hydrofracking of natural gas in the state.

Wednesday was the deadline for people to make their opinions heard on a draft of the state’s environmental impact statement and proposed regulations governing the hydraulic gas drilling process. The first task facing state environmental officials is to cull any new information from those comments after three years of debate and two rounds of hearings.

They have not said when they expect to be done fine-tuning the environmental document and rules, beyond saying that the work will be completed this year.

Across the state, a sharp divide was evident this week on whether state officials need to do further study and perhaps hold another round of public review, with environmental groups arguing yes and the gas industry pressing for a quick resolution.

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