Lawyers and Settlements; March 24, 2013
Albany, NY: Fracking lawsuits are being filed by people in favor of the activity and those who are against it. Those who are in favor of fracking say towns do not have the right to restrict or ban oil and gas development, while those who are against it say fracking procedures are harmful to the environment and could cause health problems.
BC News (3/21/13) reports that lawsuits have been filed to challenge laws that ban fracking. One lawsuit was reportedly filed by a dairy farmer, who says because of the ban, she is losing money that she could have made from wells planned for her acreage. The lawsuits allege that local regulations conflict with state regulations, making the local rules unenforceable. Many towns and cities in New York have either banned or limited fracking.
The issue is more pressing because a five-year moratorium on fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing) is about to end.
According to CBS News (3/3/13), Governor Andrew Cuomo has delayed making a decision on allowing hydrofracking in New York State until results of a Pennsylvania health study are finalized, possibly delaying a decision by up to a year. The study, conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation, was set to end in March.
People and organizations against fracking say they are concerned about the health risks associated with the process, as well as social and economic impacts.
In Colorado, however, Governor John Hickenlooper has said the state will sue any municipality that bans hydraulic fracturing. He made that announcement despite an oil and gas well releasing approximately 84,000 gallons of oil-tainted fracking flowback water. According to The Coloradoan (2/20/13), the flowback leaked for 30 hours.
Meanwhile, USA Today (3/20/13) reports that environmentalists and oil and gas companies in Pittsburgh have reached an agreement on fracking standards. The agreement will see companies encouraged to submit to an independent review, and if they meet certain criteria, they will receive the endorsement of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development. Among the criteria are limits on methane emissions, burning off of unwanted gas, and rules about wastewater disposal.
Read more at lawyersandsettlements.com.