Norse Energy Trustee Sues New York State to End Fracking Delays

Norse Energy USA, an oil-and-gas company, has sued Gov. Andrew Cuomo and two of his top commissioners, arguing that New York State’s ongoing review of hydraulic fracturing violates laws that guide the process.

The energy company, through its bankruptcy trustee, filed the lawsuit in Albany late Tuesday with papers being served on the state today, the company’s lawyer, The West Firm, PLLC stated in a release.

“The open-ended timetable and lack of transparency is an abuse of power and nothing more than a sham excuse for political delay,” he said. “The decision to delay the development of our indigenous natural gas resources will go down in history as one of the great economic blunders of all times.  Billions of dollars have been injected into the economies of the many other states in this country that have joined the shale revolution and help to put America on a path to economic prosperity and energy independence." 

This lawsuit comes on the heels of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) launching its review of large-scale fracking about 5.5 years ago, and nearly 15 months after Dr. Nirav Shah, the state Health Commissioner, was asked by Gov. Cuomo to perform his own analysis.

Norse Energy sought reorganization protection of the United States Bankruptcy Court during the state’s 5-year review process of fracking, but was then forced into liquidation proceedings when the company failed to round up bidders during an auction of some of its New York assets.

"Norse Energy and its investors have lost more than $100 million by reason of this delay," West added. "Since this litigation was announced, landowners have contacted me to thank me for bringing this action, complaining that they have lost their farms and their lives have been ruined as a result of the inability to participate in the shale revolution."

“There is no end in sight for the ongoing 5-year review of fracking in New York,” commented Gov. Cuomo and Dr. Shah after yesterday’s public Cabinet Meeting.

“My timeline is whatever Commissioner Shah needs to do it right and feel comfortable … and whatever Commissioner Joe Martens feels to be comfortable,” said Gov. Cuomo. “And I don’t want to put any undue pressure on them that would artificially abbreviate what they’re doing.”

The lawsuit seeks to force DEC to finalize the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) relative to high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State. A judge is expected to hear arguments on the merits in January and decide whether a jury trial is required to further develop the issues.


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