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Call for transparency in hydrofracking rules

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Albany/HV: Call for transparency in hydrofracking rules
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A new round of protests have begun, aimed at pressuring the Cuomo administration into banning hydrofracking in New York State. YNN's Bill Carey says the latest protests come from elected officials opposed to fracking who say there has been far too much secrecy in the state review.

NEW YORK STATE -- It was clear months ago that anti-hydrofracking forces had little faith that the Cuomo administration would consider blocking the controversial gas drilling procedure, preferring, they believed, to allow limited fracking in several counties in the state's Southern Tier.

Now, the heat is back on as the administration missed a deadline for new rules and, in effect, reset the clock for a new round of comments on potential health and safety issues.

But in Syracuse and other spots across the state, elected officials who oppose fracking complained the administration is keeping too much information on its review secret, leaving New Yorkers confused.

“It's really not okay that people are so confused about this. If New Yorkers don't trust the process that brings Governor Cuomo to a decision, then they really won't be able to trust the decision,” said Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson.

The administration did order a new review of potential health issues, but that review was being rejected by the opponents.

“There's a real question in my mind when these three experts were limited to only 25 hours each to look at thousands and thousands of pages. What kind of quality work they would be able to do in such a limited time?” asked Cortland County Legislator Kathie Arnold.

In a letter to the Governor, the elected leaders say it is time for transparency in the whole review process.

“Our entire future rests on clean water, clean air and environmentally responsible leadership at all levels of government in New York State,” said Cooperstown Village Trustee James Dean.

“If we know the answers to these questions, we haven't been told. We haven't seen all of these major revisions that we're assured have been made. New York State must be transparent,” said Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner.

“Once we have all of that, we will have a better dialog and we can make better decisions. But, before that happens, there should be no action on hydrofracking whatsoever,” said Syracuse Common Councilor Kathleen Joy.

With the new extensions on a rulemaking deadline, action by the Cuomo administration may not come for another six months.

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