Joint Landowners file suit to end fracking delay

By WBNG News

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 14, 2014 at 8:05 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York filed a lawsuit in an effort to force a decision on allowing natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing.

The Article 78 Petition asks the State Supreme Court to compel the Department of Environmental Conservation to finalize the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS.

The SGIES would set permitting regulations for the natural gas industry including the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill in shale areas.

The suit argues the decision to wait for a Department of Health review of fracking is arbitrary.

It also claims Governor Andrew Cuomo is an interested party who acted without jurisdiction to interfere with the DEC's decision-making authority.

“It is apparent to the world that Governor Cuomo is dragging out the SGEIS process for his 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,” said Dan Fitzsimmons, JLCNY President.

Citizen Action responded to the lawsuit.

“The gas industry and its allies know they can’t win in the court of public opinion. And they know that the evidence of air and water contamination from fracking is growing every day. Now the gas industry is wasting taxpayers dollars with a frivolous lawsuit," said Isaac Silberman-Gorn with Citizen Action of New York.

The petition asks for a hearing in State Supreme Court in Albany on March 7.

Plaintiffs include the Kark Family Trust, LADTM, LLC and Schaefer Timber & Stone, LLC.

The suit names defendants Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Commissioner Joseph Martens, the Department of Health and Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah.