MDN Weekly Update – Oct 30, 2011: Should NY Landowners Sue the DEC?

poll resultsA shock result from this past week’s poll, which had the second highest number of voters ever, and the most voters in a single seven day period. It appears a majority who read MDN don’t agree with MDN editor Jim Willis that the EPA should not be in the business of regulating that which the states currently have the right, under the U.S. Constitution, to regulate themselves. A disappointment to see so many people willing to throw away their hard-earned rights.

Should fracking wastewater be regulated by the federal EPA?

Yes (62%, 230 Votes)
No (35%, 129 Votes)
Not sure (3%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 372

Is it time for NY landowners to sue the DEC to allow fracking?

This past week brought distressing news for landowners (and energy companies) in New York who have already waited nearly four years for drilling to begin in the state. The state’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Joe Martens, sent a loud and clear signal that the DEC will not issue permits for shale gas drilling in 2012 (see this MDN story). He blames the advisory panel he appointed who in turn blame various state agencies, other than the DEC, whom they say need to provide detailed analyses of how much a commencement in drilling will affect their budgets and manpower. This is the first time MDN has heard of such a demand.

It’s clear to MDN that Joe Martens is not interested in seeing drilling happen in the state any time soon. MDN believes the longer it takes to commence drilling, the more likely it won’t happen at all, and people like Joe Martens (and the mostly anti-drilling members of his advisory commission) are just fine with that. The issue has been studied to death and it’s now time to begin—yet we have more delays.

So MDN wants to know if New York landowners, and those who support them, are ready to litigate to move the ball down the field. We ask the question, Is it now time to sue the DEC to force them to either issue permits or start paying landowners for loss of their property rights and the revenue they would gain from drilling? It is a big step to be sure, and not lightly taken. But waiting yet another year, or longer, is ludicrous. MDN believes it’s now time for action. What do MDN readers think?

Register your vote on the right side of any page on the website, and leave a comment on this post telling us why you do or do not support litigation in NY.

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus related events for the next two weeks.

Happy reading,
Jim Willis, Editor

Five Most Viewed Stories This Past Week (Oct 23rd – Oct 29th)

  1. New PA Study: No Link Between Fracking & Water Contamination (10/24/11)
  2. Companies Offer to Buy Royalty Rights from Ohio Landowners (10/24/11)
  3. NY DEC Commissioner Signals Drilling May Not Begin in 2012 (10/26/11)
  4. Norse Energy Fire Sale of 130K Acres in NY (10/24/11)
  5. The Kooky Things Anti-Drillers Say (10/28/11)

Five Most Viewed Stories Last 30 Days (Sep 29th – Oct 29th)

  1. Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale (7/29/11)
  2. Chesapeake’s New Utica Shale Wells Producing “Very Strong” (9/29/11)
  3. Ohio Utica Shale Permits Double in Last 3 Months (10/13/11)
  4. List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania (6/30/10)
  5. Belmont County, OH Landowners Sign Utica Shale Leases (9/19/11)

MDN Calendar (Oct 30th – Nov 12th)

New York



  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I think a lawsuit should definitely be brought against the DEC, so that it can be established once and for all whether landowners are legally entitled to be compensated for the loss of “the revenue they would gain from drilling.”  

    And since you are the one raising the issue and feel so strongly about it, why not ask all your MDN supporters to contribute the money to cover the legal costs and hire a law firm to bring the suit? Go for it, Mr. Willis. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!

  • Anonymous

    While leasing landowners have much to gain by having the MS gas drilling taking place on their property, or perhaps under it, the neighbors not leasing their lands and not wanting all the pollution, traffic,possible frackwater spillage polluting their lands or water wells, it would be fair to ask the question:  Should those neighbors opposing fracking in NY have the right to sue the DEC and their neighbor leasing the land to the drillers?  Current laws do not protect the opposed landowner. 

  • I just might Bob. Be careful what you wish for, even if it’s with snarky sarcasm.

  • Sorry, but “maybe” and “could” and “what if” don’t fly. Will truck traffic increase? Yes. But it’s short-term and not long term. When a new subdivision is built in a community, truck traffic increases for a time, maybe even a year or two. You live with and deal with it. We live together and we make allowances. If you want to be a hermit and never be bothered, go live in the wilderness somewhere.

  • Anonymous

    “We live together and make allowances?”  Many PA residents have lived in what you term “wilderness” for many years – by choice and with complete satisfaction.  It is not of their choosing to be invaded by the gas industry with all of their “what if’s.”  They were there before the gas shale discovery.  When it’s all said and done, PA will be one big “fracking” mess with no cheaper gas rates for residents because the foreign countries are moving in and will deport the product.  The opposers do not have a choice in this matter.  Money speaks! 

  • Anonymous

    I have a great idea Imforit. You can take the money you make from your lease and residual from the gas under your land in NY or PA , and buy a piece of wilderness somewhere, where there is no gas, No trucks, or people. You can take Julieann as a neighbor with you and live together( Alaska maybe?). Just do not prevent progress because of your personal opinions and let some other people get a piece of the American dream. It is always the same when there is change coming, when it affects your personal comfort zone it ‘s resisted vehemently then in the end accepted. There are some of you out there that are financially solvent and live in their little worlds, with no clue of what is going on around them. The financial crash from 2007 has and is effecting millions of people even more today. I am one of them. This Natural gas find is a blessing to me and my family. Why begrudge me MY right to the American dream?

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely think it is time for a class action suit toward the DEC  and it should be filed by the land coalitions now! Further more I feel Jim Martens and his so called advisory panel should be examined for their biased actions and statements made against shale drilling and exploration. It is clear us landowners are not going to get anywhere with the DEC to claim what is rightfully ours, well what would be considered ours in most other states other than NY..  It is time for action. We are not getting a fair outlook from the DEC. Now more than ever there are safer methods for waste water treatment to safer drilling methods, and it is still not good enough for Jim Martens. Better Technology is constantly on the horizon, and the DEC sees that, but because Jim Martens and his so called advisory board have no intention allowing landowners to move forward, it does not matter.  LANDOWNERS, LETS GET ON WITH IT!! WE VOTED THESE FOOLS IN CHARGE, WE CAN TAKE THEM OUT.. WE NEED A SUIT FILED IMMEDIATELY!!!

    Maybe if Jim Martens house was flooded, and he and his family were out of work he would feel differently about helping the less fortunate New Yorkers. We need Shale Drilling Now!!

  • Anonymous

    [email protected]! the opposing land owners.. It is not their land or minerals to oppose!!  anywhere else in the USA if you don’t own the minerals then you cannot stop the rightful owners of those mineral rights to extract them regardless..  Leave it up to rich liberals that are either to ignorant to see that technology is allowing it to be done safely or they are that rich and bored with their life and need a purpose as to oppose fracking..  Let them feel hardship with no job, a destroyed home.. etc.. Election time is coming.. Cuomo needs to do the right thing.