NY Landowner Who Sued for “Takings” re Frack Ban Loses Fed Case

Is this the sad end to a noble cause? In 2015 MDN told you about an Allegany County, NY attorney/landowner who filed a lawsuit against the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over their infamous and politically-motivated ban on fracking (see 1st Lawsuit Filed Against NY Cuomo Frack Ban – in Allegany County). The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Allegany County. Don’t be fooled by the Supreme Court label. In NY, Supreme Court is one level up from county court. The Supreme Court judge tossed the case saying the attorney/landowner didn’t have standing to file the lawsuit in the first place because he never had a permit to drill on his property. The Appellate Division later upheld the decision. The attorney/landowner then filed the same lawsuit in federal court–bypassing Cuomo-appointed state judges–in federal court last December (see NY Resident (& Lawyer) Sues DEC in Federal Court re Frack Ban). On Monday U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca ruled in that case–against the attorney/landowner, on what amounts to a technicality, saying the case violates the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects states from being sued for money in a federal court. Is this now the end? Does our intrepid attorney/landowner, have anything else up his legal sleeve?…
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NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval

NFG’s Northern Access 2016 Pipeline map – click for larger version

National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the Buffalo-based utility giant with both a drilling subsidiary (Seneca Resources) and a midstream/pipeline subsidiary (Empire Pipeline) filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2015 for a pipeline project they call Northern Access 2016 (later renamed to simply Northern Access Project, dropping the “2016” part). The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton (see NFG’s Marcellus Pipeline from NWPA to NY Hits Resistence). In July 2016, FERC issued a favorable Environmental Assessment, paving the path for full approval (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Gets Favorable FERC Review). NFG had hoped to have the project done and in-service by November of this year. However, due to foot-dragging by FERC, NFG recently announced the project would get delayed (see FERC Delay Pushes Back NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Project). Perhaps that announcement was premature? On Friday, FERC approved the project and granted NFG their certificate to build it, although NFG is still saying the new/delayed schedule is the schedule they will stick to in building it…
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1st Lawsuit Filed Against NY Cuomo Frack Ban – in Allegany County

lawsuitAn Allegany County, NY attorney quietly filed a lawsuit–two months ago–against the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over their infamous frack ban. It is the first such lawsuit that we are aware of to be filed against the DEC since the frack ban was officially declared (see It’s Official: Cuomo Bans Economic Opportunity & Prosperity in NY). The beauty of the Allengany attorney’s lawsuit is that it uses the DEC’s own words against them. The DEC, according to the lawsuit, admits in their own documentation that fracking for shale gas and oil is a “viable and acceptable” method for capturing natural gas. Those words may come back to haunt the DEC. This clever attorney is suing on his own behalf, for the right to drill and frack on his own property. He filed the lawsuit in a relatively low court, called (ironically) Supreme Court–one step up from county court in NY. Here’s the details on what we hope is the beginning of the end of the infamous Andrew Cuomo frack ban in NY…
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