In letter, fracking critics says Norse lawsuit steeped in ‘hypocrisy’


Eight groups that have been critical of hydraulic fracturing mailed a joint letter to state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens on Thursday, urging him to stand strong in the face of a lawsuit from a defunct oil-and-gas company.

In the letter, the groups — including the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and the New York Public Interest Research Group — argue that the lawsuit filed by a Norse Energy bankruptcy trustee and investor is filled with “hypocrisy,” pointing to annual reports from the company that acknowledge “environmental risks and hazards” associated with shale-gas drilling.

“Norse Energy’s claim that drilling operations and facilities are safe is plainly at odds with statements made in its own prospectus, as well as in annual reports by other companies,” the letter reads. “Its contention that public health inquiry is “improper” – in the face of an overwhelming call for such study by our leading medical and scientific experts and organizations – underscores the industry’s disregard for the public interest and wellbeing.”

The Norse lawsuit, filed late Tuesday, seeks to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration into finalizing a DEC report on high-volume hydrofracking, which has been on hold since the review was launched by the DEC in 2008. The suit contends that the DEC has improperly delegated its authority by asking state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to complete his own analysis of the fracking report. (Shah on Monday gave no indication of when his work would be completed.)

The letter asks Martens to continue his agency’s review without being deterred by the lawsuit.

“In closing, we request that you add this important information into the public record and take it into consideration as you continue to study and evaluate the risks of drilling and fracking operations to New Yorkers’ water, air, land and public health and safety,” the groups wrote.

Here’s the full letter:

Letter to Commissioner Martens Re Norse Lawsuit by FrackAction


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  1. The antifrackers will never concede, this is why King Cuomo is holding back for fear they will destroy his political future. Well he made his bed, now the residents of NY despise him for not having a backbone and shoving the Anti-SAFE act down our throats. It is going to be an interesting 2014

  2. If they had wanted to drill, they could have gone through the SEQRA process, filed their own environmental impact statement, etc. Instead they are waiting for the completion of a generic impact statement completed at taxpayer expense, and they continue to deny the adverse impacts on human and animal health and the pollution of air, ground and water that results from the hydrofracking process.

    Their suit has no merit, and their claims of safety are denied by their own statements filed with the SEC.

  3. Patricia Goldsmith on

    This lawsuit is another bullying tactic by a rogue industry. Ever since the oil and gas industry got fracking exempted from almost all provisions of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Community Preparedness and Right to Know Acts, this has been a pattern. Governor Cuomo is to be commended for the ongoing moratorium on fracking in New York. The economic pressure to allow fracking is immense, and yet nature is telling us in no uncertain terms that we need to put the brakes on carbon extraction. If we don’t, we could find ourselves–abruptly–in a world where plants can no longer adapt and therefore can’t provide food. A world where the ongoing mass extinctions–100 to 200 species go extinct every day–includes human beings.


    19 days left before the largest gathering to date of misguided hypocrites gatherd in NYS’s capitiol in Albany to protest the fuel that brought them there. At Cuomo’s NYS of the State Address Movie Actors and pop singers will use their fame to draw hundreds of people to protest fracking by offering a free concert, free fossil fuel from fracking bus ride, and extra credit from Albany University for student participation. Come watch as the protestors talk about their fear mongering and carry a brown jug of water (ice tea, or Iron ore) and tell the lie how fracking polluted the water near a auto junk yard. LMAO

  5. I could care less what these 8 groups have to say. It has been over 5 1/2 yrs since this ban started. Why is it that California could pass their regs in 1 yr, Illinois in 14 months, Ohio in 8 months? Mr. Cuomo, by his procrastination has destroyed the lives of many landowners who could no longer hold onto their farms due to financial difficulties and a gas lease would have enabled them to keep their land. It is a sad thing to see a timid governor be intimidated by the likes of Yoko Ono, Mark Ruffalo, and other super rich upstate landowners who could care less about how many more farmers they destroy.

  6. Ditherer Cuomo has no business whatsoever making any decisions regarding actions for which the DEC is designated, BY LAW,as the lead agency. It’s only through his stupid pandering to the loser likes of the Hollywood effete that we’re even in this situation, because he wants a big re-election victory to propel him toward his run for president. Guess what, Andy boy? GAME OVER! You have proven yourself to be a simpering fool. You promised transparency – where is it? The Shah of Health says transparency will come after he completes is analysis in a “scared place” WTF??? This is NOT how science works!

  7. “It has been over 5 1/2 yrs since this ban started. Why is it that California could pass their regs in 1 yr, Illinois in 14 months, Ohio in 8 months?”-august braun Because each state has it’s own geology, population numbers, water supply, drainage, property rights through each state’s constitution, number of lawsuits or court cases involved with alternate proposals other than fracking….. I have more if you’d like a more comprehensive answer.

  8. Jao left out one thing NY has that the other 32 states that allow fracking do not have: New York City where the vast majority of this resistance originates. All one has to do is go to the anti websites and see how many of them are from NYC. Hypocrisy at its worst….NYC is rapidly switching over to nat gas and shutting down oil fired power systems. It all boils down to that NYC wants to keep upstate locked in poverty so they can keep buying up our land for cheap like Yoko Don’tknow, Mark Ruffalo, etc. have already done. Peddle your snake oil elsewhere.

  9. Can the above commenters (bill, august) really still be so ignorant as to believe the outright-proven, admitted, in writing!- lies that the gas industry continues to spout, despite the huge and growing body of evidence that proves the various, permanent dangers associated with hydrofracking!? Do you fools not read!? Have you not seen the many articles describing the horrible things happening in those other states , the environmental and health problems, the leaking of toxins into the drinking water,the dead animals and sick people…and the regret that many farmers, business people, and entire communities feel at having allowed fracking to destroy ther communities because they allowed it in the first place. We don’t need to deal with those regrets here- we need to be smart enough to BAN hydrofracking in the first place.

  10. K Roberts – so where is your proof of this environmental devastation? Can you point to one actual study by any independent group or governmental agency that supports your argument? I have seen NOTHING that supports the claims that fracking has caused any of what you describe. There have been some incidents of surface spills, but nothing that cannot be contained by reasonable requlation. Who should I believe, you and the others who bandy about unsubstantiated tales of woe, or experts like Ernest Moritz and Lisa Jackson, who twice testified under oath to congress that there were no confirmed cases of groundwater contamination? And where is the national media frenzy over rampant contamination? NOT THERE, because there isn’t any! I do read – just not the whacko anti driver from Josh Faux, Loco OhNo or other know-nothings.

  11. K.Roberts…. If it is bad why don’t you and your wife return the quarter million dollar check you got when you wrote your lease and leased your land with the Friendsvile group for 5,500.00 an acre. All that money and you didn’t outfit your home with solar panels or windmills. Your the worst of the worst of hypocrites. You and your wife Pat should start each post with:

    “Hi Suckers we got ours but we don’t want you to get yours”

    If we delay it long enough with out unfonded science and Josh Fox lies we will get paid again….