NY Pro-Drillers File Final Briefs in Dryden/Middlefield Cases

court gavelAccording to Tom West, lead attorney in the New York “Dryden” court case that seeks to overturn bad lower court decisions that allow towns to completely ban fracking, the “last word” has been now been filed by landowners and (in the case of West’s client), drillers like Norse Energy. West, via his blog site, announced two days ago that the final briefs with counter-arguments have been filed for both the Dryden and Middlefield cases (copies of both final briefs are embedded below). According to West, additional friend-of-the-court briefs (called amicus briefs) will still be filed, but until oral arguments are heard in a few months, this is the final word from our side of the isle. Interestingly, when you read through the two briefs, they each make slightly different arguments–perhaps increasing the odds that something will resonate with the justices.

Here’s what West says via his blog site about the filings:
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BREAKING: NY Court of Appeals will Hear Dryden/Middlefield Case

Stop Press!Important and breaking news as MDN gets published… The New York Court of Appeals (our state’s highest court) has decided to review a lower court ruling on the Dryden and Middlefield cases in which townships banned shale drilling and fracking for everyone in the town. This is fantastic news for New York landowners. We will have more analysis tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a statement issued by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York:
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Dryden Files Request with NY Highest Court to Not Consider Appeal

Although New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dithered for more than a year on whether or not to allow fracking–and continues his equivocation–there is a much more important drama unfolding that will ultimately, in our opinion, determine whether or not New York will ever see meaningful shale drilling. The more important issue is now in the courts. Specifically, it revolves around whether or not New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, will hear a pair of cases from towns that have banned drilling.

A few weeks ago we told you about the appeals from a landowner near Cooperstown (Middlefield) and from Norse Energy (Dryden) asking the Court of Appeals to hear the case and overturn the town bans. The Town of Dryden has now sent their own request to the Court of Appeals–asking them to not consider the case…
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Middlefield, NY Fracking Ban Stands in Court Decision

court gavelA second court case decision in New York, this one in Middlefield (near Cooperstown) has ruled that local municipalities have the right to ban shale gas drilling within their borders. On Friday, Feb. 24 Acting Supreme Court Justice Donald F. Cerio, Jr. ruled that a previously passed drilling ban in the Town of Middlefield in Otsego County, NY is legal. A copy of the judge’s decision is embedded below. (Note: Thank you to an MDN reader for providing this exclusive copy of the decision that comes direct from the judge’s chambers.)

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Pro-Drilling Rally to Support NY Gov Candidate Tomorrow

Rob Astorino is running on the Republican ticket for governor, against Democrat Andy Cuomo. Astorino’s running mate, for Lt. Governor, is Chris Moss. Both are strongly pro-drilling and would move to immediately allow fracking in New York if elected. Of course, they don’t stand a prayer of a chance, much as we’d love to see them elected. (Sorry to be brutally honest, but you know us.) At any rate, pro-drilling landowner coalitions are urging their members to attend a rally where Astorino and Moss will speak–in Owego, NY–tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 14). The rally will be held at Hickories Park from 7:00-8:30 pm. Anti-drilling nutters are encouraging their protest brigade to turn up, so it’s important for pro-drillers to attend and and show your support for drilling in New York…
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NY’s Uneven Treatment of Wind Energy vs. Natural Gas Fracking

This is so outrageous we don’t even have words for it. New York State’s highest court, with its judges appointed by Gov. Cuomo, ruled in 2014 that local municipal “home rule” laws to block fracking are just fine (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). Yet another group of Cuomo appointees–who sit on the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment–have just ruled that a NY town’s recently enacted wind law was passed too late in the process, so its conditions do not apply to the current wind project developer. This is NOT justice. THIS IS WRONG. We have some advice for other Upstate NY towns (important advice) based on this miscarriage of justice.

Please see our update at the bottom about the home rule issue.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Aug 19, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: EQT among world’s fastest-growing natural gas producers; Pa. grants $2M for solar tech at PGW’s liquefied natural gas plant; Group that wants Ohio voters to decide on nuclear plants bailout submits revised petition; The latest victims of the far-left’s environmental zealotry: Long Islanders; De Blasio exaggerates fossil fuel claims on the campaign trail; NTIEC Energy Camp sparks interest among local students; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Minnesota, D.C., and Baltimore under the microscope for accepting controversial help from special interests; Colorado is quickly becoming a patchwork of oil and gas rules after a major law change; NATIONAL: Unit trains now delivering U.S. propane to Mexico; INTERNATIONAL: Yamal LNG hits 20 mt milestone; BP publishes LNG contract templates to push industry standardization; U.S. efforts to derail Russian pipelines to Europe have failed since the 1960s. Will Nord Stream 2 be different?
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US Supreme Court Decision Makes Shale Drilling in NY More Likely

We spotted a post last week by friend Tom Shepstone on the Natural Gas Now website about a recent, very important, U.S. Supreme Court decision that makes it easier for landowners to bring a “takings” lawsuit against government entities (see Take Notice DRBC: “Sue Me” Approach to the Takings Clause Is Untenable.). The Supremes ruled that a landowner can file a takings claim directly in federal court without having to file in state court first. Federal courts are more likely to grant a takings claim. The implications of the case are causing alarm among antis who have abused our court systems to block Constitutional property rights.
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Home Rule Chaos Reigns in NY – Towns Vote to Block Wind, Solar

In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rights to allow drilling and other energy projects (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen. The seeds planted with the “Dryden” and “Middlefield” cases has sprouted and is now in full bloom–like spring daffodils. So-called “renewable” energy projects are now being blocked using the very same decisions meant to block natural gas drilling–delicious irony that puts a big, fat smile on our face. On the other hand, it points out the truly horrific consequences by NY’s highest court in allowing each community to, in effect, regulate energy production. It is utter folly and lunacy. Welcome to New York…
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Sauce for the Goose: NY Town Considers Moratorium…on Solar!

In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rights to allow drilling and other energy projects (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen. As we said at the time, “In our opinion it means there will never be any meaningful shale drilling in New York. No driller in his right mind will roll the dice, lock up thousands of acres by spending millions of dollars, just to see it all disappear at the next town board election with a vote by 3 of 5 people.” But what’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander. The Town of Delaware Town Board in Sullivan County, NY is seriously considering, and about to adopt, a one-year moratorium on solar farms. It seems a company has expressed serious interest in plastering ugly solar farms all over the beautiful countryside, and town regulations are not yet in place to control what may turn into out-of-control solar farm development. So Delaware plans to adopt a moratorium to slam the breaks on–for at least a year. Can anyone say poetic justice? This action by Delaware does not fit Lord Cuomo’s wishes. You see, in NY, only elitist snobs like Cuomo get to choose what kind of energy source we serfs who live under his rule can use. Natural gas is out, solar is in–because Cuomo wants it. Yet the Court of Appeals ruling from 2014 has now risen up to bite Cuomo and his thuggish Big Green cronies on their fat rear-ends. We love it!…
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NY’s Grotesque Energy Double Standard re “Home Rule”

Here’s one that really gets us hot and bothered. MDN is written from Upstate New York (near Binghamton). We covered, extensively, the battle to allow fracking (and now, natural gas pipelines) in our beloved home state. We won’t plow up old ground again except to say that one of the battles fought, and lost, was over whether or not local municipalities can ban fracking for everyone. Two backwater towns in New York–Dryden (Tompkins County) and Middlefield (Otsego County) passed town bans that were challenged in court. The case eventually went to NY’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. We (pro-drillers) lost. Local towns now have the right to outright ban fracking–if and when it ever becomes legal to frack in New York. Some call it the “home rule” law. This was all done at the prompting and urging of a very corrupt governor–Andrew Cuomo. The judges on NY’s high court are appointed by the governor. It’s the worst kind of incest and miscarriage of justice. So along comes a wind power project that a corporation wants to build in Western NY. Some of the locals don’t want it. If they convince their towns to pass a ban on wind projects for the town, guess what? In that case NY state law will overrule the town and allow the wind project to get built anyway. How, on God’s green earth, is that in any sense fair? Here’s what we hope: We hope at least one of the towns involved passes a ban and it goes to court and they throw the high court’s decision on frack bans right back in their face. It’s time to expose the energy double standard in NY…
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Reaction from Both Sides to NY Release of No-Frack Regulations

The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has just published their Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FSGEIS), the rules and regulations document that would govern fracking in the Empire State, should it ever be allowed by the Democratic dictatorship of Andrew Cuomo and his underling DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. As we pointed out yesterday, the final act will come in a few weeks (or months) when Martens issues a “Findings statement” that will essentially say fracking is just too risky to attempt for now (see NY Releases Final Fracking Rules – Don’t Get Your Hopes Up). We have reaction to the release the FSGEIS from two representative groups–the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY), which fights for landowners and their Constitutional property rights–and Earthjustice, an anti-fossil fuel group that fights against freedom and property rights and for the tyranny of big government…
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NY Rally Fires Up Landowners to Fight Cuomo Frack Ban

JLCNY Protest Rally at Holiday Inn ArenaNew York landowners assembled in downtown Binghamton, NY at the Holiday Inn yesterday to attend a protest rally organized by the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY). The crowd at the rally was enormous–at least 500 people (perhaps more) who filled a banquet hall and spilled out into the corridor. The crowd was fired up and ready to do something to counter Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in the Empire State. MDN editor Jim Willis was there and witnessed something he has not previously witnessed: conservative, quiet, “salt of the earth” farmers and landowners were mad and loud and noisy and they wanted Gov. Cuomo to hear it. It seems Gov. Cuomo has stirred up a sleeping giant and that giant is now on the move. The one question on everyone’s mind at the meeting, What can we do now?…
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New Wrinkle in NY: Towns Must Pass Zoning Laws to Allow Fracking

shouting matchAnti-drilling former “reporter” for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Tom Wilber, is back with an insightful article in the P&SB. Wilbur highlights an issue just now coming to light for residents in New York. Earlier this year the New York Court of Appeals (NY’s highest court) made a disastrous ruling that allows townships to ban fracking (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). The continuing sliver of hope for NY landowners is that Gov. Andrew “can’t make up his mind” Cuomo will make up his mind, lo these 6 years later, and allow fracking to take place. The thinking has been that the fight (for anti-drillers) will now focus on attempting to get town boards to enact a ban–something not likely to happen in places most likely to drill. Wilber’s article points out a big, fat problem with that thinking: the high court’s decision in July did a lot more than just allow towns to ban drilling. In light of the July decision, towns with zoning ordinances (almost all towns in NY) must specially allow drilling–or it can’t take place by default…
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