New York Landowners Sue For SGEIS Release Date

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) has filed a lawsuit against the State of New York seeking to compel the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to identify a date when a final supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS) will be released and permit applications for hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling will be processed.

The suit was filed on behalf of JLCNY’s 70,000 members, the Kark Family Trust, LADTM LLC, and Schaefer Timber & Stone LLC, landowners whose properties were the subject of drilling permits but who were unable to develop their minerals because of the state’s failure to complete the SGEIS after more than a decade.

In addition to the SGEIS release, the suit seeks a determination that DEC’s referral of the document for review by the New York State Department of Health was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and an improper delegation of DEC’s lead-agency responsibilities under New York’s state environmental quality review process (SEQRA). The action also calls for a determination that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is an “interested agency” for purposes of SEQRA because of his direct intervention in the process, and thereafter an order that his records be opened for public scrutiny. Finally, the litigation seeks a determination that Cuomo is acting without jurisdiction “by orchestrating the delay and interfering with DEC’s independent decision-making authority.”

“It is apparent to the world that Gov. Cuomo is dragging out the SGEIS process for his political purposes instead of focusing on his upstate New York constituents, many of whom struggle to survive in the worst economic conditions in our nation,” said JLCNY president Dan Fitzsimmons. “We want to see our communities thrive through the blessing of this American energy revolution.” The landowner coalition is being represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation.