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Witness regulatory capture in action. New York sells out the public to natural gas fracking companies by holding secret, backroom talks with industry goons for environmental permits.

Basically, Cuomo allowed gas industry folks access to help write special documents, an EIS, that will allow natural gas fracking in New York State. An EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) is a document that basically shows the environmental impacts from a building things, like new homes, pipelines, dumping pollution into the environment, etc.

The EIS is used to help determine if a project will harm the environment, and if so details a plan that the developer will do to mitigate those effects. The city will then issue a permit to the developer with certain restrictions and requirements. The developer must comply with the written findings of the EIS. EIS is very, very common. It’s (usually) an open, public process. The public can review and comment on pretty much any EIS in their communities (even you!). This public review helps shape the language in the permit.

But, it crosses the line of ethics and legality when industry is given special access to the documents without the public knowing. It’s not entirely illegal, but there are parameters that must be met - changes to text should be made public and put up for comment, for example. This seems not to be the case with Cuomo, who seems to want natural gas fracking allowed in New York State.

Story here and EIS here.

Send corrections here.