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June 5, 2011

NY AG Sues for Full Environmental Review of Gas Drilling in Delaware River Basin

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit May 31, 2011, against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency for their failure to commit to a full environmental review of proposed regulations by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) that would allow natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. The Basin includes a portion of the New York City watershed and parts of Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Schoharie, Green, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan Counties.

The complaint, which is posted on the AG's website, seeks various forms of relief, including an injunction ordering the Defendants to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by promptly preparing a draft EIS subject to public comment, which shall include consideration as an alternative to the proposed DRBC regulations a prohibition on natural gas development within the New York City Watershed within the Basin, and which shall also include an analysis of reasonable measures to mitigate all potentially significant adverse environmental impacts. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York where the Army Corps office is located.

The complaint points out that the Delaware River serves as the primary source of clean unfiltered drinking water for 9 million New Yorkers each day and that in areas of Pennsylvania outside of the River Basin, over 2,000 natural gas wells have been drilled, resulting in hundreds of violations of water pollution laws and the pollution of drinking water supplies relied on by hundreds of thousands of people.

The AG's press release announcing the filing of the suit notes that the DRBC estimates that its proposed regulations would allow 15,000 to 18,000 gas wells to be drilled within the Basin, most of which are expected to be developed by hydrofracking and that the regulations were proposed without first conducting an assessment of the environmental impacts related to allowing hydrofracking in the Basin.

Posted by Rachel Treichler at 06/05/11 10:00 AM



Copyright 2013, Rachel Treichler



About NY Water Law

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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