A New York landowners group that claims its members are losing money while the state reviews the environmental impact of fracking said it sued the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over long delays in the study.
The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York today asked an Albany judge to order New York to expedite its review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, according to a copy of the filing provided by the group. The coalition, which says it represents 70,000 landowners, said property owners are losing out on the financial benefits of gas drilling.
"New York remains on the sidelines during what is arguably one of the most significant energy revolutions this country has ever seen," the group said in the filing, which couldn't be immediately confirmed in court records.
New York banned fracking in 2008 while studying its effects on the environment. Last month, the state's environmental commissioner, Joe Martens, said he wouldn't issue regulations to allow fracking until at least April 2015.
The Marcellus Shale formation, which is found largely in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, contains an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the coalition said in its complaint.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Environmental groups like Citizen Action of New York have opposed fracking, saying it can pollute groundwater and cause health problems. Isaac Silberman-Gorn, a spokesman and community organizer, called the lawsuit "frivolous." The group wasn’t sued.
"The gas industry and its allies know they can't win in the court of public opinion," he said in a statement. "And they know that the evidence of air and water contamination from fracking is growing every day."
Separately, New York's Court of Appeals, its highest court, said in August it would consider whether towns and cities may enact anti-fracking laws. The court said it would hear arguments in suits seeking to block drilling bans passed by the towns of Dryden and Middlefield.
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