A now-defunct oil-and-gas company is making good on a threat to sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo and two of his top commissioners on Tuesday, arguing that the state’s review of hydraulic fracturing violates laws that guide the process.
Norse Energy USA, through its bankruptcy trustee, filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Albany late Tuesday, according to attorney Thomas West. The court papers will be served on the state Wednesday, West said.
The lawsuit comes 5 1/2 years after the state Department of Environmental Conservation first launched its review of large-scale fracking and nearly 15 months after state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was asked to undertake his own analysis. The court papers challenge whether referring the review to Shah was permissible under state law.
“This open-ended timetable and lack of transparency is an abuse of power and nothing more than a sham excuse for political delay,” West said.
The legal challenges seeks to force the DEC into finalizing its lengthy review, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impacts Statement or SGEIS.
West had threatened the lawsuit for the last two weeks after he sent a letter to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens demanding a timetable for the release of the SGEIS. High-volume fracking remains on hold in New York until the voluminous document is finalized, which awaits the finalization of Shah’s report.
At the Capitol on Monday, Shah offered no indication of when he would finish his work.
Here’s the lawsuit: