New York’s 22nd District should be proud of their congressman, Maurice Hinchey.  He’s got a clear handle on the issues, and has submitted a nice set of comments to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation on their evaluation of permitting needs for drilling in the Marcellus shale in NY.

His submittal is detailed at his House website here.

Some of the highlights include steps the Congressman wants the DEC to take, such as

2) A prohibition on the use of toxic chemicals in all fracturing fluids in order to prevent groundwater and surface water contamination;

This is good stuff.  I’d like to see this step modified to state that there should be a requirement that fracking be done only with benign substances, because what is non-toxic will be subject to debate.  For example, some industry people can argue that toxicity is related to concentration, and they are using low concentrations (although, as I’ve noted here in the Washington Post, this argument does not hold water).

Other steps Congressman Hinchee asks for include:

3) Require public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing;

4) A thorough review of the growing number of incidents from other states …

6) … require industry to put in place the necessary infrastructure to process and treat flowback fluids prior to the issuance of any drilling permits.

9) Dramatically increase the resources and staffing devoted to the permitting and oversight activities related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

10)  … adopt a phased-development approach …

11) Extend the public comment period for an additional 90 days.

All good stuff, explained very nicely in his statement.