DEC extends gas drilling comment period into January 2012

Above: Video taken by Sullivan County radio producer and anti-drilling activist Sabrina Artel at the DEC's public hearing on gas drilling in Binghamton, November 17, 2011.

In what has become a familiar plot point in the unfolding saga of New York State's effort to draft gas drilling regulations, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has extended the deadline for public comment on the state's current draft of regulations.

The original deadline was December 12, 2011. Members of the public will now have an additional 30 days to comment, through January 11, 2012.

The DEC is taking comments via electronic submission through their website, which also hosts the full text (over 1500 pages) of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement that spells out the DEC's proposed regulations.

Unsurprisingly, landowners who want to lease their lands for gas drilling are unhappy with the delay, while environmental advocates are pleased that the public will have some extra time to study the massive documents.

Earlier this week, a series of public hearings hosted around the state by the DEC to get public comment on gas drilling came to a close. The hearings drew huge crowds -- and, in the case of Wednesday's hearing in Manhattan, a few celebrities.