DEC commissioner addresses ‘fracking’ at state hearing - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

DEC commissioner addresses ‘fracking’ at state hearing

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The head of the DEC had a lot to say about fracking and its possible impact on the state during a hearing in Albany Monday.

There were also a lot of interruptions and frustrated protestors who simply didn't agree with what the he had to say.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens answered questions for New York law makers Monday, and his answers were met with a barrage of boo's and protests by those listening in.

Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk questioned Martens on how the New York's all important dairy industry would be impacted, bringing up a study in Pennsylvania that showed a reduction in milk production from cows near fracking sites.

But Martens was also quick to point out the environmental study being conducted has its limitations and doesn't account for which fracking sites will be developed and where.

"If we proceed it would be very slowly we're not going to invite thousands of wells overnight," said Martens.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee says she's also worried about other impacts like waste water disposal and the equipment that will be used. The DEC's response is that they are doing a general study to look at all the factors.

While their health review looks at how best to prevent exposure, the DEC says they are not sticking to a time table to move forward with fracking.

If the rules for fracking aren't finalized by February 27, the process will have to go back to a public comment period and it could be another four and a half year wait.

The DEC also plans to release the health review they are conducting to the public later this month.

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