The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has come under increased scrutiny as questions have arisen over the agency's ability to oversee Hyrdraulic Fracturing, should the process of extracting natural gas from shale be legalized in the state. In the eyes of environmental activisits, the leadership of the DEC is strong and solid... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
When Joe Martens became New York State's new Environmental Conservation Commissioner in 2011, local environmentalists hailed his arrival as "a great choice for the job." Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan says that perception has not changed. Riverkeeper President Paul Galay agrees.
Catskill Mountainkeeper Founding executive director Ramsey Adams invited Martens to join its advisory board five years ago when Mountainkeeper was in its infancy - Martens is credited with having helped shape the groups position against hydrraulic fracturing. Adams notes that when it comes to the cloud of controversy that's settled over the DEC over the issue of hydraulic fracturing, one must look beyond the Commissioner.
The DEC responded to a request for comment by email, stating, quote "First and foremost, no decisions on high-volume hydraulic fracturing have been made and DEC's review is ongoing. When Catskill Mountainkeeper was founded, it focused on a broad range of issues affecting the Catskills such as casino gambling and second home development. During Commissioner Martens' tenure as chair of Mountainkeeper, high-volume hydraulic fracturing was just beginning to become a significant issue that Mountainkeeper was watching closely and assembling information on."