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New York landowners threaten lawsuit against the state over fracking review

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York has given the state until Feb. 13 to release its environmental impact study on hydrofracking.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York is demanding the release of the state’s environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing, and are threatening to take legal action if the state doesn’t release the report.

The letter stated the Department of Environmental Conservation has until Feb. 13 to release the report, known as the SGEIS. The state has had a de facto moratorium on hydrofacking for almost six years now.

Dan Fitzsimmons is president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York and says landowners have been waiting too long for the report.

“And it’s come to our attention that it is purely political reasons they’re not going forward with it," Fitzsimmons said. "It’s time for us to have to actually take this into our own hands and file a lawsuit.”

The landowners' announcement comes after Joe Martens, the state’s top environmental regulator, told lawmakers in Albany that the state isn’t planning to allow fracking for at least another year.

“There is no funds in the budget that have to do with hydraulic fracturing," Martens said. "So I think logically the consequence of that is we have no plans to issue permits, I think that was the specific question, for high volume hydraulically fracked wells.”

Martens added that the state Department of Health is continuing its fracking review and there is no deadline for that to be completed.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, a law firm based in Denver, Colo. that advocates for private landowners, is helping with the case.

Demand Letter Final Signed Copy by Matthew Leonard