NoFrackZoneNYS.jpgFollowing through on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s promise, the Acting New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, released the findings of his department’s long delayed health study of hydraulic fracturing in New York State. According to Dr. Zucker, hydraulic fracturing poses serious concerns to public health and data that proves otherwise does not exist. As a result, and as others have noted, Dr. Zucker concluded that he “cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York.”
Continue Reading High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Banned in New York State

In several recent remarks, Governor Andrew Cuomo has indicated that the long-delayed health study of hydraulic fracturing by the New York State Department of Health will be released before the end of 2014.  Speaking Monday on the Capital Pressroom radio show, Cuomo referred to pending decisions on natural gas development and casinos, stating that “by

By Myriah V. Jaworski

On Monday, New York’s Court of Appeals, its highest court, upheld the power of municipalities to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) within their boundaries.

The case, previously discussed here, concerned efforts by two towns to ban fracking within their boundaries after several town residents signed oil and gas leases allowing for exploration and extraction on their land.
Continue Reading Fracking Alert: Home Rule Prevails In New York’s Highest Court

By Myriah V. Jaworski

In what is considered a first step towards requiring natural gas drillers to disclose the chemical constituents of hydraulic fracturing fluids, EPA recently released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on the topic.

High volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is a method of natural gas extraction by which materials, typically water, sand and chemical additives, are injected at high pressure to fracture deep layers of shale, which allows for the release of natural gas. The natural gas is then captured and surged to the surface, along with residual flow back fluids.
Continue Reading EPA To Consider Mandatory Disclosure Of Chemicals Used In Fracking Fluids

It appears that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) will very likely face multiple legal challenges to its long-delayed issuance of a final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) for the High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”) regulatory program.  Lawyers representing the Bankruptcy Trustee of Norse Energy Corp. USA filed a letter with DEC Commissioner Martens demanding that he identify “a date certain in the near future when the SGEIS will be completed so that the many permit applications that were filed by Norse may be pursued.”  “Absent a definitive and reasonable timetable” from DEC, Norse has declared its intent to sue the agency in state court seeking an order to compel finalization of the SGEIS.
Continue Reading Lawsuits Over Hydraulic Fracturing SGEIS Imminent: Joint Landowners Threaten Suit Before Year End

Co-authored by Thomas F. Puchner and David P. Flynn

Delay.gifLike the famous Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, DEC has not timely emerged from its long-running study of environmental and health impacts of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”), suggesting that there will be at least several more weeks, if not months, of delay before the final decision.  On Tuesday, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, sent a letter to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens stating that his review is “on-going” and anticipated to be completed “within a few weeks.”  According to Shah, the additional time is necessary “based on the complexity of issues” and for his team to attend briefings on several HVHF studies underway at the federal and state level.
Continue Reading DEC Groundhog Sees Shadow – More Delay for New York Natural Gas Development – But Permits for High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing May Be Issued In Weeks, Not Months

Co-authored by Thomas F. Puchner and Patrick T. Fitzgerald

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) Commissioner, Joseph Martens, spoke to legislators about his agency’s 2013-2014 budget on Monday. During the sometimes-feisty hearing, legislators peppered Martens with questions about the timeline for completion of the revised Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) and regulations for High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”). Martens confirmed that DEC may miss several key February deadlines which may cause the proposed HVHF regulations to expire. Martens reiterated his agency’s position that it has “no specific timetable” for completing the process.
Continue Reading DEC Commissioner Suggests SGEIS May Be Delayed…Again

State Supreme Court Justice Ferris D. Lebous recently overturned a local ordinance adopted by the Binghamton City Council in 2011 to ban activities associated with gas drilling and exploration for a period of two years. Justice Lebous’ decision is the first in New York State to overrule a local ordinance pertaining to the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Continue Reading State Supreme Court Overrules Local Fracking Ordinance