Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today that the health impact study from the Department of Health will not be completed this week as initially expected.

Health Commissioner Niravh Shah wrote in a letter to Martens today that the health review of the environmental impact statement will take more time.

Shah writes that Health Department officials will be traveling to Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days to receie briefings on the issue. Shah also writes that he’s extended term of the DOH outside researchers to continue the review.

From Shah’s letter:

As we have been reviewing the scope of these studies, I have determined — and prudence dictates — that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues. My team and I will be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days for first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York eview. I have also extended the term of the DOH outside expert researchers to continue to assist my review. I aticipate delivering the completed Public Health Review to you within a few weeks, along with my recommendations.

Martens said in a statement that there are no implications for the delaying of permits.

If the DOH Public Health Review finds that the SGEIS has adequately addressed health concerns, and I adopt the SGEIS on that basis, DEC can accept and process high-volume hydraulic fracturing permit applications 10 days after issuance of the SGEIS. The regulations simply codify the program requirements.
If, on the other hand, the DOH review finds that there is a public health concern that has not been assessed in the SGEIS or properly mitigated, we would not proceed, as I have stated in the past.

In either event, the science, not emotion, will determine the outcome.

Shah Letter to Martens by Nick Reisman