Fracking Supporters Sue Cuomo Over Delay

, New York Law Journal

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A group representing property owners in upstate New York filed suit Friday to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to decide whether to permit drilling of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York filed an Article 78 petition in Albany Supreme Court asking the court to compel the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue a final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement [SGEIS] on the fracking process.

See Complaint and Memorandum in Support.

Fracking supporters say Cuomo has hesitated to make a final determination on the question out of fear of antagonizing environmentalists who say the process is potentially dangerous. In the meantime, they contend, developers are missing out on exploiting stores of natural gas that exists under a swath of upstate New York.

Cuomo has said his administration has been studying whether to allow commercial fracking or extend a moratorium that has been in place since 2008.

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York v. Cuomo, which names as defendants the governor, Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, claims the failure to complete the SGEIS process has "created a negative business reputation for New York State, as well as substantial economic harm" to upstate landowners. The delay is also contrary to the public policy of the state maximizing its indigenous oil and natural gas deposits, the complaint said.

The complaint was prepared by Scott Kurkoski of Levene, Gouldin & Thompson of Vestal and Jaimie Cavanaugh and Steven Lechner of the Lakewood, Colo.-based Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Cuomo's office had no immediate comment Friday.

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