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NYS attorney general sues feds over fracking

Courtesy photo
NYS Attorney General's Office
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is going over the federal government to study fracking and its potential impact on the Delaware River Basin.

New York's attorney general is suing the federal government to do a study of the impact of natural gas drilling on the Delaware River Basin.  But Jon Campbell at Gannett reports that at least one federal agency is contesting that claim:

In a letter sent last week to [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it doesn't believe it is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act because it is only one of five entities in the Delaware River Basin Commission and the others are states — New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Several federal agencies participate in the commission, with the Army Corps playing a lead role. The Corps is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Want to read the lawsuit?  It's online at the Democrat and Chronicle's Vote Up! blog.

Campbell also reports for Vote Up! that New York's comptroller says there's no issue with the state investing in hdyrofracking gas firms, through the state pension fund:

[Comptroller Tom] DiNapoli said there is a “total disconnect” between decision makers with the pension fund and the Department of Environmental Conservation, which is developing permitting guidelines for high-volume hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale and other gas-rich formations. “The pension fund has nothing to do with any decision that DEC will make as the regulator in this area,” DiNapoli said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom this morning. “There’s absolutely no connection between the pension fund and DEC on any of this, so any suggestion that New York may move in this direction as a way to help the pension fund — there’s a total disconnect in terms of any decisions.”

Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia report at The Hill's energy blog E2 Wire that the Energy Department is looking at hydrofracking over the next two days.  The panel will include representatives from both sides of the fracking issue:

The Energy Department panel — which meets with state regulators Thursday — hopes to identify “any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing,” according to its website. “They will also develop advice for the agencies on shale extraction practices that ensure protection of public health and the environment,” it notes.

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