As most of us know, the deadline for regulatory action on hydraulic fracturing is merely a few weeks away, yet the Department of Health has yet to identify its panel of experts to assess health impacts related to drilling activity.

Let me first say, I recognize that state officials are dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy and this is rightly taking precedence for many government agencies. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the state does need to address fracking – once and for all.

If the health review is not completed by November 29 – just two weeks from now – the DEC will need to reopen its proposed regulations and public comment period. Quite frankly, I think that everything that needs to be said has been and it is time for shale development to move forward.

Additionally, the need to re-build parts of New York after two years of natural disasters and the revenue generated by shale development are not mutually exclusive. There remains an opportunity to bring in substantial revenue that will help put New Yorkers to work and for sound investment in infrastructure.

I commend the Governor for his attention to the victims of Sandy, as he was a strong presence in the Southern Tier after Tropical Storm Lee. I strongly urge the Governor and the DEC to recognize that the clock is ticking and many New Yorkers – including many small businesses, farmers and job seekers – can’t wait much longer.