A panel of professionals who have studied policies and regulations on shale gas drilling presented their views at a public forum in Ithaca, NY sponsored by Tompkins County Council of Governments (TCCOG) on December 17, 2012. Speakers were: Dr. Tony Ingraffea of Cornell University, Helen Slottje of the Community Environmental Defense Council, and Dr. Sandra Steingraber of Ithaca College. Martha Robertson, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, moderated.

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1:6-Intro. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
5:40Martha Robertson introduces the speakers.
  2:6-Tony Ingraffea. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
17:33Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Cornell, explains the structure of a properly constructed comment, and gives examples of DEC’s responses to his own comments in the current proposed regs.
  3:6-Martha Robertson. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
4:28Martha Robertson, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, was asked by a reporter, why, if Tompkins County Council of Governments is sponsoring this forum, why wasn’t someone from the gas industry invited?  All of the towns in Tompkins County have a ban or moratorium in place, save for Groton which will be considering a moratorium presently. We have moved on.
  4:6-Sandra Steingraber. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
30:24A big part of the evening was to collect comments on the regs from those attending. It is easier that you may know. What is our purpose in making comments? Not everyone is inclined to go over with a fine toothed comb. But what about how we each would be impacted by these regs?  What does a 500 foot set-back mean to you?  Sandra Steingraber explains how to use the new website thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com, which is kind of fun too, like an advent calendar.

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5:6-Helen Slottje. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
25:36Helen Slottje, Esq., Community Environmental Defense Council, lays out the circumstance, and all that is legally questionable and actionable against DEC’s attempt to push through regulations ahead of completion of SEQRA, specifically, DEC is violating its own stated obligations under the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA).  Her presentation is a true gem.
  6:6-QnA. Responding to New Fracking Regs (YouTube)
8:33

In late November of 2012, the DEC issued new proposed regulations for shale gas drilling in New York, with a 30-day public comment period. The start date for comments was December 12, and the deadline is 5:00 pm on January 11, 2013. The new regulations can be found at the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/77353.html

It is very important that the public speak up about these proposed drilling regulations. Last fall there were some 66,000 public comments on the dSGEIS –the environmental review–but only 650 comments on the regulations.  The speakers suggested three very different ways of responding to the DEC. (insert quotations here).

This is our chance to focus on the regulations, and we hope many people will write to the DEC,” says Robertson.

Topics covered by the panelists included:

• Why the new proposed regulations are important.
• What issues the proposed regulations cover and what issues they ignore.
• How citizens, interest groups, and municipalities can frame their concerns most effectively in feedback to the DEC.

The new regulations can be found at the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/77353.html and comments can be submitted at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html

Thirty days of franking Regs http://www.thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com/ provides an easy, accessible and fun way for citizen’s to send in their comments.  The site is set up like an Advent calendar, with a new section from the proposed regulation appearing each new day, together with background information an a submission form.

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