Confusion (about the fracking public hearing) abounds! Clarity follows —

This post has new information about the online registration to attend the public hearings.

Yes, the dates, times and places for the fracking hearings are still correct, but there's more clarity about the registration.

According to Clarke Rupert, the Delaware River Basin Commission's communications manager, the DRBC is concerned that everyone who drives to any of the four public meetings can be relatively sure of getting a seat. A large crowd is expected.

The on-line registration process provides a way for people to check and see if there are still seats available.

At the same time, the DRBC was looking for a way to organize the speakers -- and find out how many people wanted to speak so that it could allocate the time fairly.

The Dec. 31st deadline is not for getting a seat. It's to gather the pool of people who are interested both in coming and speaking. Those people who register before Dec. 31st will be contacted by the DRBC and asked if they'd like to speak at the hearing. You don't have to speak if you don't want to.

Rupert explained that there is no guarantee that all who are interested in speaking will be able to -- since there's a limit on how long each meeting will last. (All four are 3 1/2 hours.) If you're interested in speaking and don't sign up before Dec.31, you still might be able to speak if there are time slots available, or you might be on a waiting list.

On-line registration for attendance continues until 5 p.m. the day before each meeting. In fact, you can register just before each meeting, but then, Rupert explained, you're gambling that there will be seats, and/or time for all speakers.

He also pointed out that the public comment period for these new regulations extends to Feb. 28, adding that all comments, oral or written, will be given equal weight.

There is further explanation of the procedures on the DRBC's website:…/propos…/notice_hydraulic-fracturing.html

And keep checking back -- there might be even more clarity as the hearings get closer.

About Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire has been a journalist for 30 years in New York and Connecticut. She started in weekly newspapers and moved to full-time work in dailies 25 years ago. She knows about the tectonic changes in journalism firsthand, having been part of what was euphemistically called a "reduction in force" six years ago. Now she's working to find new ways to "do" the news as an independent online publisher of news about the Delaware River, its watershed and its people.

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