Jon Kark of upstate Fenton is suing Gov. Cuomo because he’s sick of spending just a week or two a year with his family.
Kark is part of a coalition of New York landowners who last month sued Cuomo and top officials at two state agencies in pursuit of their right to develop the rich Marcellus Shale beneath their land. (The plaintiffs are represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, which I head, and New York counsel.)
The state has stalled for six years on letting New Yorkers develop energy on their land, and these residents have waited long enough for the endlessly promised environmental study.
For six generations, Jon Kark’s family’s has held their land in north central Broome County, northeast of Binghamton. He and his wife Patricia use their 353 acres to run 50 head of cattle as well a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian camp his father created in 1970.
Jon Kark would rather run cattle, operate his trucking company, help with the camp and spend time with his wife, four children and four grandkids — but for the last six years he has been everywhere but home.
Good news: In July 2007, Kark leased his mineral rights to an independent oil and gas company for a five-year term. If the company drilled, made a discovery and produced natural gas, it would pay a royalty. Bad news: The potential value of that gas increased his property taxes.
More bad news: In July 2008, then-Gov. David Paterson imposed a moratorium on permits for wells using horizontal drilling and...