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ALBANY >> It unlikely that permits for shale gas drilling and fracking will be issued by New York regulators before 2015, state Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo $137.2 billion budget for the fiscal year ending in March 2015 allocates no money for regulating high volume hydraulic fracturing, Martens told a legislative panel.

Fracking the controversial process of injecting water and chemicals into shale formations at high pressure to extract trapped natural gas has been on hold in New York since an environmental review was launched in 2008. After the hearing, Martens repeated previous statements that there is no timetable for the review to be finalized and he is waiting for an analysis by Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah.

would say it a good indication, because there no funds in the proposed executive budget for that we will not be issuing permits in the fiscal year, Martens told reporters outside the hearing room. extremely unlikely. We have no plans to. 11px;

Fracking technology has spurred a gas drilling boom in other states, but Cuomo has said he won decide whether to allow it in New York until Shah review of potential health impacts is completed. That review, launched in September 2012, has no deadline.

In the Northeast, the Marcellus and Utica shales both of which are partly in New York state are considered ripe for fracking. Opponents of fracking claim the process can contaminate water supplies and cause other environmental damage. The energy industry contends fracking is safe.

John Armstrong of the anti drilling group Frack Action said it good to know no permits will be issued this year, but he added that the group will continue to push Cuomo to permanently ban fracking.

Cuomo 2014 15 budget keeps Department of Environmental Conservation funding flat at $876 million and increases the Environmental Protection Fund, which pays for local conservation initiatives, by $4 million, bringing it to $157 million.
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