New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced the delay of proposed hydraulic fracturing rules while the Department of Health conducts a public health review. First released in September 2011, the proposed rules would bar hydraulic fracturing in New York City and Syracuse watersheds and establish limits on the activity throughout the state.

DEC apparently received 80,000 comments on the proposal by January 2012. In particular, environmental groups reportedly expressed concern about the possible pollution of underground aquifers by chemicals and the contamination of groundwater from flowback water that returns to the surface during the hydraulicfracturing process. According to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens’ September 20, 2012, statement, “Only after this evaluation is completed will a decision be made about whether to permit high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York.”