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11/27/2012

Elmira, N.Y. - Whether you're for or against gas drilling in New York State, you'll have to wait a few more months before a final decision on allowing fracking in New York is made.  A deadline for finalizing new gas-drilling regulations arrives on Thursday.

Today, a spokesperson with the Department of Environmental Conservation says the agency will file for a 90-day extension by the deadline.

The DEC says an extension allows time for the health commissioner and three national experts to review health effects of shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The DEC started an environmental impact study in 2008.  Since then, the state has had a moratorium on shale gas development.  Under state law, proposed new regulations stemming from the study expire on Thursday.

Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore says it's necessary to have an extension on the regulations.

Skidmore says, "What we eat, what we breathe and what the animals are eating off the ground and drinking water. We all ingest it, some way, shape or form, so we need to take a look at some of those things."

Representative's of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York say they're optimistic the extension signals an end is in sight to the entire regulatory process.

Scott Kurkoski is the attorney for the JLCNY. He says, "There are so many opportunities that other states next to us, Ohio, Pennsylvania, have been experiencing. so landowners, businesses, farmers throughout new york are anxious to get underway this opportunity."

We also spoke with State Senator, Tom O'Mara, who says he's for fracking.  O'Mara says the extension isn't necessary and the state is taking too long in legalizing shale gas development.  The 90-day extension will include a 30-day public comment period.

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