This morning, a joint legislative budget hearing was packed to the gills as Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens testified to legislators about hydraulic fracturing.
Martens began speaking at 9:30am. The Democrat and Chronicle is currently hosting a livestream of Martens' testimony on their website.
Martens’ appearance is supposed to focus on the state budget, which does not include and regulatory funding or revenues from high-volume hydrofracking — a technique that has been on hold in New York since the Department of Environmental Conservation launched a review in 2008. But Martens is expected to be questioned on the topic by lawmakers, just as he was last year and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was last week.
Martens’ appearance Monday comes at a critical time for his agency. The DEC faces a Nov. 27 deadline to finalize a set of proposed regulations for fracking. But in order to meet that deadline, its lengthy environmental review may have to be released by Feb. 13.
Several Albany news outlets and citizen groups have also been tweeting about this morning's hearing. Here's a sampling:
DEC Chief Joe Martens says it will be "difficult" to meet February #fracking deadlines if health review recommends new measures.
— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) February 4, 2013
Assm. Sweeney asks if independent U of Penn study on fracking should be completed before #fracking decision is made; Martens deflects
— EANY (@greenwatchdogNY) February 4, 2013
"It is really up in the air," Martens says of #fracking and the lack of funding for it in budget
— Joseph Spector (@GannettAlbany) February 4, 2013
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens says it would be premature to include budgeting for hydrofracking
— Capital Tonight (@CapitalTonight) February 4, 2013