Lawsuits against New York DEC on hydrofracking study dismissed

By WBNG News

Lawsuits against New York DEC on hydrofracking study dismissed

July 14, 2014 Updated Jul 14, 2014 at 4:12 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a state supreme court justice dismissed two lawsuits against the New York Department of Environmental Conservation related to a review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing used to drill for natural gas.

One case was brought by the bankruptcy trustee of Norse Energy and the second case was filed by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, the Kark Family Trust and Schaeffer Timber & Stone.

Schneiderman announced New York State Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough dismissed both lawsuits seeking to compel the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to end an ongoing review of the environmental impacts related to high-volume hydrofracking.

“The court’s decision to allow the state review of hydrofracking risks to continue is an important victory in our effort to ensure all New Yorkers have safe water to drink and a clean, healthy environment," said Schneiderman. "New Yorkers are rightly concerned about studies showing the environmental risks associated with hydrofracking. We should not allow hydrofracking to begin in New York until the Department of Health completes its analysis of its impact on public health. Given the risks of contamination to wells and the aquifer that supplies drinking water to many New Yorkers, we need to make sure we can safeguard our water before we move forward,” Schneiderman said.  

The Joint Landowners Coalition also released a statement responding to the decision.

“If we don’t have standing, than who does?" asked Dan Fitzsimmons, JLCNY President. "These cases involved Norse Energy, a company with pending drilling permits driven into bankruptcy by New York’s anti-business environment; landowners who only owned the subsurface oil and gas rights to their properties; and the JLCNY which represents 70,000 landowners whose mission is ‘to foster, promote, advance, and protect the common interest of the people as it pertains to natural gas development through education and best environmental practices.’  The Court effectively ruled that no one has standing to challenge the State,” Fitzsimmons said.  

Also named in the lawsuits brought against the DEC were the New York Department of Health and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

An attorney for the JLCNY said an appeal is likely.

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