NY attorney general suing feds to compel environmental review of gas-drilling procedure
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government Tuesday May 31. He is doing so to ensure a full Environmental Impact Statement and review prior to any regulations being released by the DRBC on unconventional natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. The lawsuit claims that several agencies have not followed through on conducting the necessary environmental reviews.
Excerpt from the Washington Post article “NY attorney general suing feds to compel environmental review of gas-drilling procedure“:
Eric Schneiderman says in the federal lawsuit that the welfare of those living in the basin, and millions of New Yorkers who rely on its drinking water, must be thoroughly weighed.
He says the Delaware River Basin Commission, with approval of federal agencies, proposed regulations without doing a full review as required by law.
Excerpts from WHYY’s Newsworks article “N.Y. sues to delay shale drilling pending environmental study“:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said drilling in the Delaware River Basin should not move forward without a comprehensive environmental review. He said the federal interstate body known as the Delaware River Basin Commission did not conduct such a study before proposing new regulations for gas drilling.
Maya von Rossum of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network also wants a deeper environmental review.
“We would be talking about looking at water pollution, air pollution, land disturbance, damage to existing species that are important to our region,” she said. “We would be looking at the health implications of people being exposed to these contaminants.”
While the lawsuit says federal law requires such a thorough environmental review, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it does not require the Delaware River Basin Commission to conduct such a study.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network has issued a press release “Environmental Community Applauds and Supports NY Attorney General Schneiderman’s Lawsuit on Gas Drilling” applauding the Attorney General’s lawsuit. Protecting Our Waters also supports this action.
Excerpts from the DRN press release:
“The Delaware River is the largest water supply in the Mid Atlantic region, and is the foundation of our healthy environment and economy. Considering the catastrophes gas drilling is inflicting on the waters, air, fish and wildlife, human communities and jobs across vast areas of our country, it is shocking that the Delaware River Basin Commission and its federal commissioner, the Army Corps of Engineers, would even consider evading and avoiding the laws that mandate a full environmental impact analysis of drilling before drafting regulations that would allow it to occur in our region,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
“The Commission’s preparation of draft rules in the absence of critical information that would have been provided by the required environmental impact assessment places at risk the drinking water of nine million New York City and State residents. Preparation of a full environmental impact statement, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, is essential to ensure effective regulations adequate to the task of meeting the DRBC’s mandates and controlling a risky industrial activity that has already caused documented environmental impacts in Pennsylvania and other states,” adds the Hudson Riverkeeper, Paul Gallay.
Jane Davenport, Senior Attorney for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, says “The National Environmental Policy Act was enacted to ensure that our regulatory agencies and decisionmakers would take careful stock of the harms they might cause by the decisions they make. That the DRBC and Army Corps would not even be interested in undertaking a full assessment of environmental effects from gas drilling, so much so that they are willing to violate their legal duty to do so, is deeply disturbing considering their charge to protect and serve the public.”