Yesterday the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed with the New York Department of State a revised draft of its proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in the state. According to reporting by the New York Daily News and other outlets, DEC faced a deadline of yesterday by which to file the draft rules in order to secure a 90-day extension of time to file its final proposed rules, per the state’s Administrative Procedure Act. By way of background, New York has had in place a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing since 2010, largely to allow DEC to conduct an environmental review and develop rules. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been under pressure from both sides of the debate to make the temporary moratorium permanent or issue rules promptly that would allow shale drilling to commence in the state.
The draft rules address a variety of topics, including: detailed well construction, site preparation, operational, and maintenance requirements; enhanced chemical disclosure requirements for hydraulic fracturing fluids; well pad siting setbacks; pre-drilling testing of surrounding private residential water wells; and revisions to state water discharge permit requirements for high-volume operations.
The revised draft rules can be found on DEC’s webpage at the following link, and a brief summary of the regulations also can be found here. DEC will accept comments on the draft regulations from December 12, 2012 through January 11, 2013.