Update: See statement from the DEC, and a letter from E&E explaining its relationship to IOGANY, at the bottom.
New York state might just have to scrap the latest draft of its environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing. The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and state lawmakers are asking for a re-do after the discovery of a pretty large conflict of interest: Namely, that an environmental consulting group that helped prepare the draft study turned out to be a member of the Independent Oil & Gas Association (IOGA), a natural gas industry lobbying group.
In 2011, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation signed a $50 million contract with Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E), an environmental consulting firm. The company was also selected to provide an analysis of the economic impacts of fracking in the state. In August of 2011, E&E provided the DEC with that study, which some anti-fracking groups claimed was biased. The New York Times highlighted that skepticism when it pointed out that E&E "expedited permit applications for more than 200 pipeline and gas storage projects worldwide" in 2011, but couldn't establish a clear connection to any lobbying interest. That changed this week, when NYPIRG discovered that Ecology and Environment, Inc. appeared as a member of IOGA on a letter to Governor Cuomo, urging him to open New York to hydraulic fracturing.More »