Norse Energy trustee sues Cuomo over fracking review


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:

FINAL MOL for Mandamus Action


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  1. I find it interesting that Mr. West goes on and on about landowners ruined lives, has he been down to Penn. and seen first hand how people’s health and lives have been destroyed by fracking?

  2. Jao you speak pure BS… who’s life was ruined in PA, Saunter’s… proved to be liars… Mannings… live on an area known for 150 years to have flamable water. You sound a lot like that guy on here lying all the time about people falling ill near drill sites…. you know.Proud Nyer??? Issac Gorn.

    How ya gonna spin that report…. Imagine Ingraffea and Holworth gave a presentation on how the natural gas didn’t exsist in NY yert here we are at 15 percent of Upstate water wells flamable….just like in Josh Fox’s Gaslies

  3. The truth is that fracking destroys small communities–their economies, over burdens their social services, wrecks their infrastructure, and makes impossible demands on police, fire, courts, schools all so a few big corporations and a few landowners can make a bunch of money without, by the bye, paying any signficant taxes. Bet that’s not in Norse’s pleadings.

  4. “The truth is that fracking destroys small communities…”

    With all due respect – or I should say, as little as I am able to muster – YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND, YOKO!

    I am living here in Bradford Co. PA, ‘fracking ground zero,’ with a minimum of 7 well pads within 1.5 miles of my property. I see farmers whose homes were literally held together with tar paper and rusty nails now renovated and warm. I see roads that were a full twelve inches of pure muck every Spring now solid and actually worthy of the title, ‘road,’ everywhere I go. I see people putting money into their homes and land, into their childrens’ future, into their communities. Finally, the army of vo-tech students can actually see a clear path to a future wherein a sustainable job is possible.

    My water has been tested three times, all the while straight from the well to the tank with NO FILTER, and all three times it is absolutely perfect. I do not know anyone with bad water, unless they built new homes on the other side of hill from the Bell Landfill (an old superfund site, oh did we conveniently forget the area has more than a considerably dirty past?) and then were blithely surprised when their water was full of heavy metals.

    As a resident of Terry/Albany townships for the past 20+ years, I can say without any reservation that the recent developments in natural gas extraction have been the best – and the CLEANEST – industrial development I have seen in this county in my lifetime.

  5. EK’s comments reflect what Mike Lovegreen, Bradford County PA conservation head said about drilling this past spring at the Broome County Library in Binghamton. The anti’s are a group of super rich who are concocting lie after lie and utilize proxies like Isaac Silberman – Gorn of Citizen Action of NY. A group bought and paid for by the Park Foundation of the People’s Republic of Ithaca, NY.

  6. way to blow the non informed – Josh Fox cult members liars out of the water EK- every lie they tell gets debunked, some by their own Envirionmental Justice, Everytime they find patsies in PA to use for their anti-gas agenda like the Sauntners from Dimmock (Fled The Press to Tennesee after caught lying) or the Mannings who will soon be dicarded by them in the same fashion as the Saunters they lose credibility.

  7. Bryant LaTourette on

    Ek, Thanks for putting the real facts on the table! . This backs up the reason why NY is against harvesting natural gas. The good comes from companies that have no subsidies tax abatements and a political that can take credit.

  8. Patricia Goldsmith on

    Fracking companies and others who favor the practice always like to talk about our natural resources, often saying that we’ve been blessed with them. But our real blessing, at this very specific moment in time, is a climate that is still livable, though frail and failing. If we don’t take steps now, our climate will become catastrophic, unlivable. At that point, talk about economic blunders will seem like what it really is: denial to the point of madness. The “shale revolution” is just an attempt to pretend that we still live in a day and age when oil flowed easily to the surface and energy exuberance seemed limitless. That day–though a good day, I grant you–is past. Time now to look to our survival.

  9. I do not believe that our climate is “frail and failing.” Changeable? Yes, to some extent through cyclical and natural means and perhaps to some extent influenced by carbon emissions. Do not fall into the trap of idealism; sure, it would be “ideal” to supply all of our energy needs via solar or wind or water etc., however it is currently NOT possible, and will not be possible any time soon given the explosive world population. Natural gas is plentiful, it is now relatively easy to extract and is affordable to ALL whether you are wealthy or not. It is much cleaner than coal, or wood, or plastic and garbage which many of my neighbors burn in their outdoor boilers. I do not see how anyone can argue that it is not a step in a positive direction, regardless of your environmental philosophy. Do not be so entrenched in academic or idealistic fairy tales as to not see the forest for the trees.

    I often wonder if those who spout off all the horrors of natural gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing have ever taken the time to actually visit Bradford County or some other area here in PA where it has been practiced for a few years now, or if they are simply parroting what they hear various celebrities and zealots spew out via ceaseless vitriol. The Northern tier of PA and upstate New York ARE NOT picturesque playgrounds that exist solely to appease the whims of the wealthy! REAL PEOPLE live and die here, REAL PEOPLE struggle to live and make homes for themselves and their children and grandchildren, and REAL PEOPLE need to find gainful employment here rather than sitting around eating corn chips all day waiting for the welfare check to come.

  10. Patricia Goldsmith on

    Gov. Cuomo’s ongoing moratorium on fracking seems more prudent with every passing day. During this moratorium we’ve seen Pennsylvania’s job-creation status go from seventh to forty-ninth, exploding the notion that fracking creates jobs. We’ve learned that methane emissions are much more common than previously thought, and we know that methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. We’ve learned that injecting fracking waste wells causes earthquake swarms. And we’ve seen the fracking industry go through incredible gyrations to dispute that fracking pollutes groundwater, but given that all cement plugs eventually degrade, it’s beyond dispute that eventually all wells will leak and fracking fluid, ninety percent of which is never withdrawn, will eventually migrate. It’s just a question of when. Are we so blase and self-destructive that we don’t care, as long as it isn’t in the next few years?

  11. As the lawsuit alleges, and I’d tend to believe, the Ditherer is illegally inserting himself into the process. There’s a reason why we have agencies such as the DEC – to remove political interference from the process and to bring together the scientists, engineers and others with the expertise to study complex issues. Andy boy has boxed himself into a corner here – he is NOT the designated lead agency in anything related to environmental law, Martens cannot delegate the decision making authority to Shah, and overall they have violated SEQRA by not making a decision in a timely fashion. Parenthetically I saw an opinion piece that said that our feckless leader(follower?) might actually welcome this lawsuit because it provides him with an out from a situation he should never have gotten himself into in the first place.

  12. Apparently environmental alarmism has become an acceptable substitute for critical thinking in New York. Let the New Yorkers eat corn chips while they wait for their welfare checks. Rubes.