Friday, February 8, 2013

Out in left field

Feb 06, 2013

Peter Mantius

A disturbing picture is emerging of the narrow subagency of state government that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is relying on to write the regulations for fracking in New York.
     The Division of Mineral Resources, or DMN, was formed in 1983 as a unit of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to regulate oil and gas exploration and production.
    Throughout its 30-year history, DMN has operated as a powerful industry-friendly fiefdom run by only two directors, Gregory Sovas (1983-2001) and Bradley Field (2001-present), who have watched five governors come and go.
    The division defines its role as “the fostering, encouragement and promotion” of oil and gas development. Its mission statement conspicuously omits any acknowledgement of responsibility to protect human health and the environment.
    And DMN has for decades displayed an aversion to establishing formal regulations for oil and gas development.

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Peter Mantius is a freelance journalist from Schuyler County who follows shale gas drilling issues. He is a former reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and former editor of two business weeklies in the Northeast