Ask, and You Shall Receive

Rep. Hinchey publishes detailed list of additions to draft DEC Marcellus regs; turns out most are already in the DEC document

U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) may be one of the chief authors of a bill in Congress that seeks a de facto, nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing – creatively, by forcing operators to secure special permits from the EPA that the agency has no ability (statutory or operational) to issue. But at least back home in New York, with the state DEC poised to promulgate its final rules governing the safe and responsible development of the Marcellus, the congressman has emerged as a constructive participant in that debate.

For proof, look no further than the press release his office sent on December 23, 2009. Prepared as an accompaniment to the written comments the congressman formally submitted to DEC commissioner Pete Grannis the day before, the document lays out a series of changes to the underlying draft DEC framework that Mr. Hinchey believes DEC must make “before drilling should be permitted in New York.”

It’s a significant statement by Mr. Hinchey – one that, it would appear, puts him at odds with scores of national activists who have called on DEC to throw the entire document in the trash and keep the existing moratorium on all Marcellus activity intact. But that’s not what Mr. Hinchey appears to be demanding here, is it? Taking him at his word, he seems to be supportive of the idea of responsible, job-creating natural gas exploration – he just wants it to be done right.  And thanks to his press release, we now know exactly what he believes is needed to make sure that particular standard is met.

So that’s the good news – but it gets even better from there. Examining the Hinchey press release, it turns out the vast majority of changes the congressman would like to see incorporated into the final DEC regulatory document can already be found in the draft underlying text – right now. The congruity is striking. Take a look for yourself:

Hinchey Side 010809

Well, then. Now that we’re all in agreement, who thinks it’s about time to get work? Certainly we’ve gotjobs to create, revenue for state and local governments to generate, and a clean energy future for New York to deliver. The good news is that now, hopefully, his edits adopted and concerns allayed, Mr. Hinchey can be part of that solution, both nationally and in New York. It’d certainly be a welcome development.

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