Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday the door is still open for another federal lawsuit seeking an environmental impact study of natural gas drilling.
Schneiderman’s lawsuit against several federal agencies that was meant to force a study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin was tossed by a federal judge this week. The judge, however, did not prevent New York’s attorney from filing again in the future, if and when the Delaware River Basin Commission issues regulations.
Addressing whether he would re-file, Schneiderman said Thursday: “It really depends on what happens.
“I think, partly, the scene will change when New York issues its own regulations,” he continued. “We certainly don’t want our own regulations undermined by anything that is being done by this federal entity.
“And we will try and protect New Yorkers’ rights however we can,” he said.
The Delaware River Basin Commission is a partnership among the federal government and the river’s four watershed states — New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
A total of 2,390 square miles of the river’s watershed are in New York, covering much of Delaware and Sullivan counties and small portions of six others, including the eastern part of Broome, western portion of Ulster and a sliver of Chenango. It lies above the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.
“We have the ability to pursue this further down the road,” he said.
As for the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s recent announcement that it was asking the state Department of Health to complete a health-impact study, Schneiderman said that course of action “sounds prudent.”
“No one can say they’re not taking a hard look at all the facts,” he said.