Earlier this week the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations.  The draft rule would allow for point-source discharges from hydraulic fracturing wells into state waters. It also sets up other regulations for the fracturing process, which were indicated earlier this month when the DEC released its draft SGEIS, which we blogged about previously. Specifically for the construction phase of the project it requires “the owner/operator must develop and implement a Construction SWPPP in conformance with technical standards or demonstrate equivalency.”

The draft rule would prohibit “high-volume” fracturing in certain areas, included among them are the New York City and Syracuse watersheds and other primary aquifers. Fracturing would also be prohibited within 2,000 feet of public drinking water supplies. In order to drill within 500 feet of private water wells, companies must gain approval from the landowner. Other important aspects of the rule can be found on the fact sheet. The rule requires that the additives used in the fracturing phase be “identified and evaluated to encourage the use of process and substances that minimize the potential of environmental impacts.”

The proposed rule is now open for public comment until December 12th, 2011. Electronic comments can be submitted here. Written comments can be mailed to:

Attn: dSGEIS Comments

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510

The DEC will hold eight public hearings covering four days on November 16th, 17th, 29th, and 30th. Click here for more information on those hearings.