Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel (D-16th) expressed outrage over a report that the state agency responsible for coming up with rules governing the controversial natural gas extraction process known as hydrofracking consulted with the oil and gas industry to assess whether its proposed regulations were too onerous, and citing the industry’s “special access” that appeared to place a higher priority of cost over the need for a health assessment.
She issued a statement in response to a Times Union article on hydrofracking:
“It was very disturbing to learn that the Department of Environmental Conservation gave advanced notice of its proposed shale fracking permit guidelines and regulations to the oil and gas industry. I was hoping for an objective, transparent, process as part of the decision making in writing the hydraulic fracturing regulations.
“In the recent Albany Times Union article, it was written that the DEC, through a series of emails, communicated with the oil and gas industry to find out if the proposed regulations were overly burdensome.
“The special access given to the industry seems to place concerns about cost over the need for a health assessment and a review of the long-term effects of property values in the region. My Assembly colleagues and I, in our determination for the health and safety of New York State residents, have repeatedly asked for a Health Assessment Impact study.”
Assemblywoman Schimel has co-sponsored legislation (A.3245/S.3472) that would give local governments control over the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking. Hydrofracking is a method used for natural gas extraction, which takes place in reservoir rock formations. Assemblywoman Schimel also supported a package of legislation (A.10234) that would require a health impact assessment for gas drilling and hydrofracking in New York.