Was Dr Nirav Shah. Who took the heat for the Governor. Every member of the Cuomo Administration has been systematically bought-off, cowed, co-opted or otherwise compromised by the fracking lobbyist. But for once someone in the Administration appears to have done the right thing. Maybe. If only by playing Good Fracking Cop to Martens’s Bad Fracking Cop. Shahs’ letter to Commissioner Martens.
Whenever Martens starts selling HVHF permits, the legal scenario will remain the same – the DEC has royally botched the rule-making process and they will be blocked – in court. Because the DEC has labored mightily for years and brought forth the Best Regulations the Frackers Could Buy.
The fracking shills inside the Cuomo Administration may go ahead, but Dr. Shah wasn’t to blame. It was a bright spot in the DEC’s train wreck of regulatory malfeasance. As Team Slottje explains here.
An attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice says New York could be on “extremely shaky legal ground” if it permits hydrofracking without finishing the rules first.
Deborah Goldberg said in a statement that the group does support the state health commissioner’s decision announced today to study fracking further before making any recommendations. But she took exception to the statement by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens that hydrofracking could start before the final regulations are issued.
“Commissioner Martens signaled today that some fracking permits could still be issued on a case-by-case basis under the 40-year-old regulations still on the books,” Goldberg said. “Needless to say, the state would be on extremely shaky legal ground should it choose that course.”
Earthjustice was among many environmental groups responding to the news that health Commissioner Nirav Shah said he needs more time to complete his portion of the hydrofracking review.
Katherine Nadeau, Environmental Advocates of New York:
“Commissioner Shah has taken a stand against a multi-billion dollar industry by acknowledging the significant concerns about fracking’s impacts on public health. This is precisely how the state should make decisions on public policy: get the information, and then decide. The Commissioner deserves credit for not attempting to rush a decision based on an arbitrary timeline.
“We urge the Department of Environmental Conservation to follow Commissioner Shah’s lead, and openly and transparently do the work New Yorkers expect from their government on such an important decision.”
Sandra Steingraber, advisory committee member of New Yorkers Against Fracking:
“Commissioner Shah is correct that the state needs to take the time to do a comprehensive study of the health effects of fracking to protect the public health. As he notes, no comprehensive studies have been done to date and New York must do so before making a decision about fracking…Commissioner Shah has indicated how important it is to do this right, which means bringing the public and New York State health experts into this process.”
We shall see . . .