Dear Friends and Natural Gas Supporters,
I am pleased to report that Norse Energy has filed its action against New York State for its failure to issue the SGEIS governing high volume hydraulic fracturing. Governor Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Martens and DOH Commissioner Shah are named in the action. The petition and two supporting documents can be viewed by opening the three files attached below.
The Article 78 petition alleges that New York is bound by the State Environmental Quality Review Act to promote the development of its indigenous natural gas resources, protect the correlative rights of landowners for the development of their mineral rights and complete the SGEIS process in a timely and orderly manner. The petition seeks:
(1) Mandamus relief to compel finalization of the SGEIS;
(2) A determination that the referral to Dr. Shah is illegal under the State Environmental Quality Review Act;
(3) An order of prohibition, prohibiting Governor Cuomo from further delaying the process;
(4) A jury trial if New York State responds by offering excuses for the delay; and
(5) Public review of all of the interagency communications, including communications from and to the Executive Chamber, concerning the SGEIS process.
The case is returnable on January 24, 2014, in Albany County Supreme Court where a Judge will hear arguments on the merits and decide whether a jury trial is required.
The JLCNY fully supports this action by Norse. This lawsuit will serve as an important precursor to our takings action against the state.
It is unfortunate that Governor Cuomo made this litigation necessary. The choice for New York is obvious. President Obama and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz say the process of hydraulic fracturing is safe. Natural gas provides a solution for air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions causing professor Richard Muller, one of the world’s leading climate scientists from the University of California-Berkeley to conclude that opposing shale gas is a “tragic mistake”. And, while our state’s policies have decimated the upstate New York economy, Texas recently reported a $2.6 billion surplus and predicts that taxes paid by energy development firms will be $8 billion by 2015.
Governor Cuomo’s inability to make a decision on HVHF has severely impaired New York’s energy future, driven companies like Norse into bankruptcy and signaled that New York is closed for business.
Governor Cuomo, we call on you to end this delay and make the right decision that will allow our communities and our state to enjoy the benefits produced by this American energy revolution.
Dan Fitzsimmons, President
Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.