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May 5, 2011

Suit Challenges Hydrofracking in New York State Forests

The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition (CWCWC) has filed suit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) challenging the failure of the DEC's final Strategic Plan for State Forest Management (SPSFM) issued on December 29, 2010 to prohibit High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHHF) in New York State Forests. I am one of several individuals living adjacent to state forests who are named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The complaint, filed on April 28, 2011, in Ulster County Supreme Court, Case No. 11-1833, seeks judgment to void the SPSFM and its accompanying Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the DEC's failure to take a hard look at the environmental impacts related to the action as required by the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The complaint also seeks a determination that industrializing State Forests with the newly proposed natural gas extraction process known as High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHHF) is contrary to the enabling legislation authorizing the purchase of lands for State Forests and is inconsistent with the responsible stewardship of State Forests, sustainability and policies of New York State as set forth in the State Constitution, Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), and the Common Law Public Trust Doctrine. The plaintiffs are represented in the suit by Attorney James Bacon from New Paltz.

For an independent analysis of the biological impacts of HVHHF in the State Forests, CWCWC retained Hudsonia, a nonprofit, non-advocacy institute that conducts research and provides information for land use planning and environmental management. Hudsonia and Hickory Creek Consulting prepared a report analyzing a number of potential impacts to biological resources, particularly including the toxicity of spilled or leaked wastewater affecting streams and wetlands, and the fragmentation of forests by drilling pads, access roads, and pipelines. An affidavit of Erik Kiviat, Executive Director of Hudsonia, outlining Hudsonia's research has been filed with the complaint.

Posted by Rachel Treichler at 05/05/11 9:50 PM



Copyright 2013, Rachel Treichler



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New York Water Law covers legal developments relating to water in New York and in jurisdictions that may be influential in New York. The author, Rachel Treichler, practices law in the Finger Lakes region.
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