Tag Archives: Hydrofracking

NYS Hydrofracking Moratorium: No End In Sight

The NYLCV’s eco politics daily reported this morning that Governor Andrew Cuomo will not reach a decision on whether to allow fracking in New York until the NYS Department of Health releases its long-awaited study concerning fracking’s health effects.

On Monday, Gov. Cuomo spoke with Susan Arbetter of NCYN’s Program, “The Capitol Pressroom“.  He acknowledged that while fracking could have economic benefits for upstate New York, the accompanying health and environmental impacts were not insignificant and he was not prepared to condemn or condone the practice before knowing the full consequences of such action.

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Among Environmentalists, Hydrofracking Is Not A "Yes Or No" Issue

On April 10, 2013, I participated in “Justice Speaks,” an event sponsored by the Justice Action Center at New York Law School on hydraulic fracturing.

Joining me on the podium was Daniel Raichel, a Project Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”), and the lead attorney with the newly formed Community Fracking Defense Project. Pursuant to this initiative, NRDC provides legal assistance to towns and local governments in potential shale drilling zones upstate that seek to prohibit hydrofracking in their communities.

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Hydrofracking And The Debate Over Municipal Infrastructure

On February 11, 2013, the IADC conducted a lively, interactive panel discussing the risks and benefits of shale oil and gas extraction at the IADC Mid-Winter Meeting. The panel represented the spectrum of political, regulatory and scientific views on the issue and debated perceived potential risks to human health and the environment.

In addition to me,  the panel consisted of Blaine D. Edwards, Assistant General Counsel at Superior Energy Services, Inc.; Raymond G. Mullady, Jr., a partner at Blank Rome LLP in Washington, D.C.; and Niall A. Paul and Nathan D. Atkinson, partners at Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC. Eric Lasker at  Hollingsworth LLP in Washington, D.C. assisted in the preparation and coordination of the event.

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Hydrofracking And The Debate Over Municipal Infrastructure

On February 11, 2013, the IADC conducted a lively, interactive panel discussing the risks and benefits of shale oil and gas extraction at the IADC Mid-Winter Meeting. The panel represented the spectrum of political, regulatory and scientific views on the issue and debated perceived potential risks to human health and the environment.

In addition to me,  the panel consisted of Blaine D. Edwards, Assistant General Counsel at Superior Energy Services, Inc.; Raymond G. Mullady, Jr., a partner at Blank Rome LLP in Washington, D.C.; and Niall A. Paul and Nathan D. Atkinson, partners at Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC. Eric Lasker at  Hollingsworth LLP in Washington, D.C. assisted in the preparation and coordination of the event.

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Hydrofracking And The Battle Over Water In South Texas

In an article titled, “Introduction to Hydraulic Fracturing Natural Gas Exploration,” Rebecca Jo Reser, an IADC member and partner at the San Antonio, Texas law firm of Davidson Troilo Ream & Garza, discusses the potential burden that hydraulic fracturing imposes on water resources in South Texas.  In areas of South Texas stricken by drought, the issue of water allocation balances signficant strides in economic development and employment attributable to energy exploration and the interests of growers and others who fear that fracking activity may draw down too large a share of scarce water resources.

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Lone Pine Order Ends "No Causation" Hydrofracking Case

A Lone Pine Order is an innovative judicial case management tool that requires toxic tort plaintiffs to produce credible expert evidence to support their theory of causation (or another key component of plaintiffs’ claim) prior to the commencement of pre-trial discovery. A Lone Pine Order is designed to weed out frivolous claims before defendants must invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and incalculable time and effort only to learn prior to trial that plaintiffs cannot establish a prima facie case. Both federal and state court judges have learned by experience that a Lone Pine case management order can end in their infancy baseless cases that would otherwise require an enormous expenditure of judicial time and resources. I have written about the use of Lone Pine Orders both on this blog and in journal articles

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DEC Staff Buildup Required for Hydrofracking Permitting

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens told a panel of state lawmakers on February 7, 2012,  that it was “conceivable” that a handful of hydraulic fracturing permits could be issued in 2012 but that a final decision is “months, not years away.”  Martens cautioned that the number of permits that could be issued in 2012 would be “extremely limited” in part due to the “considerable work that remains before we finalize our regulatory framework.”

An additional hurdle to overcome before hydraulic fracturing can commence in earnest is the need to build up DEC’s regulatory staff to sufficiently oversee the proposed activity.  According to the Ithaca Journal, Commissioner Martens stated that DEC currently employs 16 gas drilling regulators, but estimates that the Agency would need 140 additional regulatory staffers during the first year that permits are issued.  According to the Public Employees Federation (“PEF”), DEC has lost more than 800 full time employees since 2008 because of budget cutbacks.  The PEF represents some 1,700 scientific and technical workers at DEC.  Wayne Bayer, a shop steward for PEF, advised lawmakers that his union continues to support a moratorium on hydrofracking because existing staff shortages at DEC do not support this labor-intensive mission.

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