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Environmental group sues governor, DEC over fracking documents

In March, the Environmental Working Group submitted a Freedom of Information Law for more than a year's worth of correspondence between the Department of Environmental Conservation, the governor's office and industry representatives.

The Washington, D.C.-based group, which specializes in the use of freedom of information requests, issued a report in June on the cooperation between the DEC and industry prior to the release of the final draft environmental review of hydraulic fracturing.

On Monday, the EWG filed a lawsuit against the DEC and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accusing it of withholding many of the documents requested in March that it says detail excessive collusion.

From the group's Wednesday press release:

“We already know that state regulators gave drillers exclusive behind-the-scenes access to draft regulations that were stacked in favor of natural gas companies and riddled with scientific gaps,” said Heather White, Environmental Working Group’s general counsel and chief of staff. “The Cuomo administration’s grudging response to our Freedom of Information request raises questions about its commitment to science and open government,” White said.

DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis told the Albany Times-Union at the time of the EWG's original report that the agency's correspondence was in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act, which governs agency rulemaking.

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