By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau
ALBANY A high-ranking official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday declined to estimate when a decision on hydraulic fracturing may come down, telling lawmakers Friday that there "isn't a timetable at this point."
Anne Reynolds, the DEC's deputy commissioner for management, told the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee that the agency continues to review comments it received on a 2011 draft review of fracking, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or SGEIS.
Reynolds testified on behalf of the DEC at a hearing held by the legislative committee Friday.
"There isn't a timeframe at this point," Reynolds said. "As you know, you've heard before that we've received over 100,000 comments from the public. The department is still reviewing those comments, developing responses and developing any changes to the SGEIS in response."
The DEC has been reviewing high-volume fracking, a hotly debated technique used to help extract natural gas from shale formations, since 2008. The decision now rests on the DEC finalizing the SGEIS and the Department of Health finishing its own review of ways to prevent potential health effects.
When asked if she had any information on when the Department of Health may finish its work, Reynolds said: "I don't."
"Both DEC and the Department of Health are committed to not moving ahead with fracking until that's finished and until we're satisfied that it can be conducted in New York in a way that's protective of the environment and public health," Reynolds said.