Here's a pop quiz: after an eleven week trial in federal court, a jury hands down a verdict of nearly $105 million against ExxonMobil for contaminating New York City's drinking water. On appeal, the verdict is upheld. What environmental law enabled the jury to find, and the appellate court to affirm, such a large verdict? The Superfund Law? The Clean Water Act? The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act?
Municipalities in New York have received the green light to regulate fracking - even to the point of banning it - through local zoning ordinances. It's a second consecutive victory for municipalities in the New York courts, and an affirmation of New York's long history of vesting decision making powers in local governments through Home Rule.
Previously in our "Fracking NY" Blog Series, we summarized the two recent New York Supreme Court cases - Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden, 940 N.Y.S.2d 458 (Sup. Ct. Tompkins Co. Feb. 21, 2012) and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1420 (Sup. Ct. Otsego Co. Feb. 24, 2012), which both upheld local municipalities' authority to ban oil and gas operations (as a round-about way of banning the controversial high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations specifically) - as being not preempted by the State Oil and Gas Act ("OGSML"). To read about those cases, please click here and here. As we expected, both of those cases were appealed to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department.
So far in the Periconi, LLC "Fracking NY Blog Series," we've outlined state, interstate, and federal regulation of high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). We now turn to yet another layer of potential regulation of fracking in New York State: local zoning ordinances. Two towns - Dryden and Middlefield - which have enacted zoning ordinances that ban fracking within their borders have had those zoning ordinances challenged by industry and/or landowners. In the past week, both of these cases were decided in favor of upholding the bans. This blog post will cover the Town of Dryden case. (Click here for the Town of Middlefieldcase.)
On December 1, 2011, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") announced that it is extending the public comment period on its environmental impact study of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
In our first two posts (here and here) in the Fracking NY Blog Series, we considered the general background of fracking in the Marcellus Shale region of New York and the 2011 Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study ("Revised Draft SGEIS") prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") which studied the environmental impact of allowing fracking in New York State. This post discusses the draft DEC regulations that were released in September of this year that would regulate high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in New York State.
As mentioned in our last NY Fracking Series post, hydraulic fracturing as a method of extracting natural gas is nothing new in New York State. But the type of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," now being considered for the Marcellus Shale formation in New York is new. That's why it has triggered a revision of the State's environmental review of the issue and a revision to its regulations of natural gas drilling. This post will summarize the State's recent Environmental Impact Study on the impacts of fracking in New York State to human health and the environment.
We've discussed proposals from the State and Federal governments for the regulation of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing of shale for natural gas (i.e., "fracking"), but there is another level of authority that has something to say about fracking operations in New York State - the Delaware River Basin Commission. This post will discuss the proposed amendments to the Commission's Water Quality Regulations which would regulate fracking in the Delaware River Basin, as well as the New York State Attorney General's lawsuit regarding the Commission's proposed regulations.
Introduction to Periconi, LLC's "Fracking NY" Blog Series