Has the Cuomo Administration Blinked on Fracking?

In what grassroots opponents of fracking see as a partial victory, the Cuomo administration missed a key regulatory deadline this week, holding off the destructive drilling process -- at least temporarily -- against the will of the powerful gas drilling lobby.

In a public letter and an official statement acknowledging fracking's potential public health impacts, the commissioners of the state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH), jointly suspended an arbitrary February 27 deadline for their regulatory weigh-in.

DOH will use the additional time to examine three important, ongoing studies and complete a review of fracking's potential public health impacts on the state.

By chosing an information rather than deadline-driven approach to the regulatory process, the Cuomo administration has at least acknowledged that the state must address the serious issues raised by fracking.

But while the administration may deserve credit for not sacrificing the regulatory process to an arbitrary deadline, it has still left the door open to fracking permits being issued before regulations are in place.

While watching and waiting, anti-fracking advocates are raising money to file a lawsuit if the state starts issuing permits before completing the regulatory process.

More from AP.

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