Marcellus: NY Landowners Sue State For Foot-Dragging

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York sue Governor Cuomo and state agencies for delaying Marcellus natural gas drilling/fracking approvals.

Published on: Feb 18, 2014

On Valentine's Day, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York launched their legal offensive against a recalcitrant governor, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the state health commissioner by filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Albany County, N.Y. For this group, there's no love to be lost with Governor Cuomo and company.

JLCNY President Dan Fitzsimmons said: "It's apparent to the world that Governor Cuomo is dragging out the [Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement] process for political purposes instead of focusing on his upstate New York constituents, many of whom struggle to survive in the worst economic conditions in our nation. We want to see our communities thrive through the blessing of this American energy revolution."

NY Landowners Sue State For Foot-dragging on Marcellus Natural Gas Drilling
NY Landowners Sue State For Foot-dragging on Marcellus Natural Gas Drilling

In brief, the lawsuit seeks to:
•Compell the DEC to finalize the SGEIS;
•Determine that the DEC referral of the SGEIS to New York Department of Health was an improper delegation of the DEC's lead agency responsibilities;
•Determine that Governor Cuomo directly intervened in the process and be ordered to open his records relative to the SGEIS process for public scrutiny; and
•Determine that Cuomo is acting without jurisdiction by interfering with the agency's decision-making authority.

The goal is to force release of the SGEIS shale drilling regulations, according to JLCNY's lead attorney Scott Kurkosk. Also included in the suit as plaintiffs are the Kark Family Trust and Schaefer Timber & Stone, LLC. They are landowners whose properties were the subject of drilling permits but were unable to develop their minerals because of the state's failure to complete the SGEIS.

The 70,000-member JLCNY is represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation and Kurkosk, a partner in Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP. View the petition on JLCNY's website at: http://www.jlcny.org/site/index.php

Information courtesy of Marcellus Drilling News