Last Tuesday, the Cuomo Administration again delayed making a decision on whether it will issue permits for hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method that is used to extract natural gas from rock formations such as the Marcellus Shale, which extends into New York State. Commonly referred to as “fracking,” the process has been under review by state regulators since September 2009.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah wrote to the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, and said that the Department of Health will need more time to complete its health impact assessment of hydrofracking that will be a part of the DEC’s environmental review.  Shah said that he expected to complete the Public Health Review, along with recommendations, “within a few weeks.”

Like many of the groups that believe that the state’s natural gas resources can be safely developed, we are disappointed that there is yet another delay in the regulatory review process.