According to the Associated Press, a group of New York landowners says they are laying the groundwork for a lawsuit against the State of New York if regulators miss a Feb. 27 deadline to complete rules for shale gas development. Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, told members on the coalition’s website that the decision whether to release the regulations or let them expire is being made for purely political reasons. The class-action lawsuit would claim an illegal government “taking” under the Fifth Amendment, which says private property can’t be taken for public use without just compensation. The State of New York has had a moratorium on gas drilling using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since an environmental impact study began in 2008.
Hydraulic fracking is a common cause of serious environmental damage. Such drilling may cause water and ground contamination and possible public health risks. No one knows the full impact of hydro fracking on human health and the environment, so other dangers may exist.