Cuomo Delays Fracking Decision Until After Election

In May 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the Syracuse Post-Standard that he intended to make a decision on whether to support fracking in New York State before the November 2014 gubernatorial election.  Now that the election is only a few short weeks ago, Governor Cuomo has backed off that time line stating that he will make the decision after state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens have concluded their studies, which should be by the end of the year. This announcement comes six months after the resignation of then-Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah, which Cuomo said would not delay the joint review being conducted by the DOH and Department of Environmental Conservation.
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Department of Energy Study Finds No Contamination Associated With Marcellus Frac Wells

The Department of Energy  released a study that, in short, concludes that there is no link between hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale and groundwater contamination.  The DOE, which was given access by the industry to monitor multiple sites, monitored situes both during and after  the fracking process.  It discovered that the chemicals used to free gas remained 5,000 feet below any drinking water supplies.   The DOE indicated that the frac fluids remained approximately one mile below drinking water.   DOE researchers used “tracers” and monitored the frac fluids injection in order to determine whether the fluids permeated to or near the surface.  The government study touts that it was independent: The work was conducted via collaboration between government, in-dustry, and academia, in order to provide an unbiased, science-based source of information with which future ...
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Top Weekly Legal Fracking Stories

With summer quickly coming to a close, fracking litigation has picked up.  The following are some rerports of new lawsuits that were recently filed: Nevada District Court set to rule on environmental group challenge to BLM fracking lease. Defamation lawsuit filed against anti-fracking billboard in Ohio. Colorado drops challenge to locality rules on fracking. Lawsuits filed seeking to connect property damage from seismic activy to wastewater ejections.  Texas Supreme Court to hear defamation case against anti-fracking group.    
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New York Fracking-Related Land Use Litigation Heats Up

Recent events arising out of New York’s moratorium on fracking, as well as localalities’ outright bans on said practice, are causing a rapid uptick in land-use litigation. For example and as had been expected, an appeal has been filed with respect to recent decision from the Supreme Court– New York’s trial level court–that dismissed challenges by landowners and others to continued delays by the State of New York with respect to whether to permit hydraulic fracturing. Those that have followed New York’s regulatory history with respect to hydraulic fracturing are acutely aware that New York has repeatedly deferred making any formal decisions with respect to how, when, and to what extent, hydraulic fracturing will be permitted in the Empire State.   New York’s current stated position is that a decision will be ...
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New York High Court Affirms Municipality’s Right to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing Within Its Boundaries

In a 5-2 ruling on June 30, New York’s highest court rendered a decision in a hotly contested case regarding the power of municipalities to ban hydraulic fracturing. The state’s Court of Appeals addressed two cases brought with respect to local zoning laws passed by the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. The specific legal issue was whether a locality’s zoning laws were preempted by New York’s Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML). The court found that the zoning laws were not preempted, and that a municipality does, in fact, have the right to ban hydraulic fracturing.  It is too early to determine the impact, if any, that the decision will have on the future of hydraulic fracturing in New York. On one hand, approximately 70 towns have passed resolutions banning the ...
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