October 4, 2012

Another court supports Dryden's position on home rule

Another New York State Supreme Court Justice has supported Dryden's position that it has the power to ban gas drilling through zoning. The same decision threw out the City of Binghamton's own moratorium because it didn't fit the judge's take...

Posted by simon at 12:24 PM

October 1, 2012

Potentially massive hydrofracking delays

The tone of the hydrofracking regulatory conversation has changed pretty drastically over the last week or so. Solid Shale has a long list of details you absolutely should read, but the two key ones I see (from a Dryden perspective)...

Posted by simon at 7:02 AM

July 31, 2012

Gas companies push legal lunacy further

It's bad enough that the gas industry can't seem to accept that two judges have already thrown out their claims about state energy law pre-empting local zoning, but really? Lenape is threatening to sue the state because localities - in...

Posted by simon at 2:39 PM

June 19, 2012

Lost memo proves weak

I wrote earlier about Tom West's claiming he had found a memo that would change the landscape of at least the Middlefield case on drilling and home rule, and I wasn't very impressed by it. It seems I wasn't the...

Posted by simon at 2:22 PM

June 15, 2012

Is Home Rule a good idea for gas drilling?

My use of the phrase "classic Albany compromise" in my earlier post on the leaks about a proposal to allow hydrofracking in places that seem to want it has created some confusion, online and off. As I wrote elsewhere: I...

Posted by simon at 12:15 PM

June 13, 2012

Dryden and Dryden's attorney comment on possible Cuomo moves

Other places post press releases as news without acknowledging they came from press releases - I prefer just to pass on the press release directly: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 13, 2012 Statement on New York State's Reported Plan to...

Posted by simon at 3:23 PM

Looks like Home Rule may be the answer on drilling

This sounds like a trial balloon to me: Cuomo Plan Would Limit Gas Drilling to a Few Counties in New York The plan, described by a senior official at the State Department of Environmental Conservation and others with knowledge of...

Posted by simon at 10:30 AM

May 20, 2012

Really? They did? Who knew?

The Dryden Safe Energy Coalition held an informational meeting in Owego, New York, this week. See? Energy in Depth is good for something - helping me keep track of what a supposedly Dryden organization is doing in other counties! (They...

Posted by simon at 4:45 PM

May 18, 2012

Town Board approves Yellow Barn water district

Last night's Town Board meeting started out with a pretty full room, because of the public hearing on the Yellow Barn water district. The Town will be taking over the infrastructure of the Yellow Barn Water Company, whose board members...

Posted by simon at 7:26 AM

April 4, 2012

The mystery memo

I mentioned a while ago that Anschutz attorney Tom West was crowing about a memo he'd dredged up in the state archives. As was reported then: A lawyer involved in the attempt to scuttle the Middlefield ban on natural gas...

Posted by simon at 12:19 PM

March 30, 2012

Anschutz will appeal

Surprise, surprise - Tom West was apparently joking about how he was just too expensive for Anschutz, his billionaire client. Not only will they appeal their loss to Dryden, "From day one, West said, it was his client's preference to...

Posted by simon at 12:11 AM

March 22, 2012

Will Anschutz appeal?

I keep hearing rumors that Anschutz may not bother appealing their loss in their case against Dryden's gas drilling ban. There was a strange hint of that in Attorney Tom West's immediate response to the loss, in which he suggested...

Posted by simon at 7:00 AM

March 1, 2012

How one town beat a bully

Yes, it's still just the first round, but it's nice to see an in-depth story on Dryden's resistance to hydrofracking....

Posted by simon at 2:55 PM

February 29, 2012

The end is near... or not

I love Joe Osmeloski's letter asking what Henry Kramer's 'next "end of the world" scenario for our small town will be.' However it happens, the end of the legal conversation with the gas industry will not be quick. The Dryden...

Posted by simon at 7:50 AM

February 28, 2012

The long bout ahead

The Oneonta Daily Star has an editorial looking at the judicial and legislative paths ahead after last week's victories for home rule in the first round of the lawsuits against Dryden and Middlefield....

Posted by simon at 6:11 AM

February 25, 2012

If you want to keep up with the DSEC

You may want to visit industry PR site Energy in Depth Marcellus instead of the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition's own site. I was wondering when the DSEC would post something about the first results of the lawsuit they had so...

Posted by simon at 6:43 AM

About that takings claim

I really didn't think Anschutz would live up to its bluster, and I'm mostly surprised they folded this argument so quickly: Although early reports (NYTimes 2/02/2012) quoted West saying Anschutz could sue Dryden under "takings" law, West said February 22...

Posted by simon at 6:14 AM

February 24, 2012

And Middlefield wins too

It's been a bad week for the gas industry and their lead attorney, Tom West. The Town of Middlefield, New York was battling a lawsuit parallel to Dryden's. In Dryden's case, the gas company, Anschutz Exploration Company, had sued, while...

Posted by simon at 4:57 PM

February 23, 2012

When you only have one speed, no brakes,

and minimal steering, you're bound to hit walls sometimes. When I checked in yesterday at Energy in Depth Marcellus, the PR mouthpiece for the gas companies, to see what their response to the Dryden lawsuit ruling might be, all I...

Posted by simon at 6:34 PM

February 22, 2012

Anchutz attorney blusters a lot

I didn't expect attorney and lobbyist Tom West to be happy about losing the first round of the Anschutz lawsuit, but I also didn't expect this in the New York Times: The Dryden case, however, is sure to prompt further...

Posted by simon at 12:10 PM

February 21, 2012

Dryden wins the lawsuit! Dryden wins the lawsuit!

Well, round one of three, anyway, if this takes its expected journey through New York State's court system. Judge Phillip Rumsey ruled in favor of Dryden and against Anschutz. More soon. Update: Here's the decision itself, and the Ithaca Journal...

Posted by simon at 7:37 PM

January 6, 2012

New York State energy policy (and home rule)

[repurposing a long email message. Update: this New York Times article tells a similar story with a lot less background.] New York State energy policy is a game that's largely about territory and players and not so much about principles....

Posted by simon at 12:22 PM

December 29, 2011

Definition and Determination of "Taking"

Supporters of gas drilling (and opponents of zoning) seem to enjoy calling every effort by any government anywhere to regulate land use for whatever reason a "taking". They argue that these takings must be compensated, and threaten gigantic lawsuits over...

Posted by simon at 4:32 PM

December 22, 2011

Zoning changes delayed

I went to last night's Town Board meeting expecting to watch them pass the new zoning. Despite my serious misgivings, I encouraged them to proceed. The old random zoning isn't getting any better with age. They closed the public hearing,...

Posted by simon at 9:52 AM

December 14, 2011

"important to recognize that DEC is not a land use agency"

I would love to see a DEC official state something like this, in reference to potential conflicts between state and local regulation of various kinds of mining. It is important to recognize that DEC is not a land use agency,...

Posted by simon at 11:20 AM

November 28, 2011

"Super Lawyer" flies again

Apparently Super Lawyer Thomas West cannot rest in his work for the gas industry and its friends. He's now representing the landowner plaintiffs as a co-counsel in the Middlefield lawsuit as well as leading the attack on Dryden....

Posted by simon at 6:29 PM

November 12, 2011

Where the fracking conversation is now

Peter Mantius of the DC Bureau has an overview of where the fracking battles are after Friday's court hearing and Tuesday's elections....

Posted by simon at 8:07 AM

November 10, 2011

Hydrofracking and the elections

Back at the public hearing in July, I asked Dryden Republican Committee Chair why they were pushing so hard against the ban. "Candidates", he said, before we were shushed. I was actually trying to give him some advice - I...

Posted by simon at 8:08 AM

November 5, 2011

Piles of election and fracking news

It's definitely been a busy week for Dryden. Here are pointers to some of the latest election pieces: Incumbent Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner's Ithaca Journal piece on the biggest issue facing Dryden. Video of the last candidates' forum is...

Posted by simon at 12:55 PM

November 4, 2011

A morning in court

I took today off so I could watch my town get sued. I suspect the best summary of this morning's proceedings came at its end, from Judge Phillip Rumsey: It's wonderful to have such excellent work from everyone. It makes...

Posted by simon at 3:12 PM

My reading of the Anschutz lawsuit

I reviewed the thick stack of filings last night. I am not a lawyer, but basically I hear this from the two sides: Anschutz The DEC has historically interpreted the Environmental Conservation Law to give it lots and lots of...

Posted by simon at 7:44 AM

WBNG on Anschutz suit

WBNG-TV Binghamton has a report on today's upcoming hearing in the Anschutz lawsuit....

Posted by simon at 7:26 AM

November 2, 2011

Seward still pushing for home rule, supporting bans

I was a little worried that State Senator Jim Seward had gone quiet on his earlier support for clarifying that municipalities can zone out gas drilling. Fortunately, WBNG-TV reports that he's still interested in a piece on the Middlefield lawsuit:...

Posted by simon at 10:21 PM

October 26, 2011

First thoughts on tonight's candidates forum

Perhaps the most impressive feature of tonight's candidate forum at the Dryden Fire Station was the turnout. I'm guessing that 200 people were there, far far more than came out to the forum two years ago. Yes, a large group...

Posted by simon at 11:03 PM

October 24, 2011

Dryden replies to lawsuit

Here are all the pieces of the Town of Dryden's reply to the Anschutz lawsuit, file number 2011-0902 at the Tompkins County Courthouse. There's a lot here, but the key pieces are the Verified Answer, a paragraph-by-paragraph reply to the...

Posted by simon at 12:59 PM

October 22, 2011

Henry Kramer as a Prophet of Doom

I have a certain sympathy for doom-sayers. I've been called a Cassandra myself, for example. Henry Kramer, though, is a prophet of a different sort. Cassandra was a prophet of doom, yes, but one who was always ignored, always powerless...

Posted by simon at 7:34 AM

October 18, 2011

Who invited Goliath?

There were a lot of strange Republican claims in the recent Innovation Trail piece at WSKG, but I think the one that really hit it out of the park was this: Schickel is critical of town Democrats for putting Dryden...

Posted by simon at 7:48 PM

October 1, 2011

$175 million? Ha!

One of the few fun things about lawsuits is that the accusers have to tell a bit of a story about themselves to prove that they have standing to bring the case. In the Anschutz lawsuit against the Town of...

Posted by simon at 6:09 PM

September 23, 2011

Crazy short lawsuit deadlines

Apparently the Anschutz lawsuit includes an Article 78 proceeding, which seems to be New York's way of saying "you think our courts are slow? We'll make them go so fast no one will know what happened!" At least for that...

Posted by simon at 7:54 AM

September 22, 2011

Fairways (for drilling, not driving)

I mentioned earlier that Dryden is at "an interesting geological location", but hadn't gone into much depth about why. The first half of the geological section of the New York State draft SGEIS (4.2MB PDF) explores the question of where...

Posted by simon at 12:29 PM

September 20, 2011

You can do what you want with your property if and only if...

it's compatible with what the oil and gas companies want to do with it. That seems to be the message of the career of Thomas West, the "Super Lawyer" who announced that his firm would be bringing a lawsuit against...

Posted by simon at 5:02 PM

September 19, 2011

Lawsuit filed; more details

Thanks to the combination of a (wonderful) beekeeping class Saturday, lots of sneezing yesterday, and a huge pile of work today, I haven't been able to give the Anschutz lawsuit the coverage it deserves. Here, to get you started, are...

Posted by simon at 11:40 AM

September 15, 2011

Why sue Dryden? Why now?

While I suspected that the gas companies would eventually sue to try to overturn Dryden's drilling ban through a zoning clarification, I'd also thought such jousting would wait until after the DEC finished the review of the sGEIS, came up...

Posted by simon at 7:41 AM

September 14, 2011

Anschutz announces lawsuit

They haven't actually filed it yet, so I'm guessing they bravely led with a press release, but apparently a gas company is stepping up to sue over Dryden's ban on gas drilling (Update: expanded article): Anschutz Exploration Corp. plans to...

Posted by simon at 7:04 PM

February 6, 2010

Stormwater sorted, well delayed, SPCA overloaded

I'm not sure why the state didn't notice a stream at the location of a gas well for which it issued a permit, but Dryden seems to have presented a case in how local officials can find genuine issues the...

Posted by simon at 4:57 AM

December 14, 2009

Gas drilling permit, letter

I wrote last week about a propspective gas well drilling into the Trenton-Black River formation in Dryden. As I'd noted then, Town Board member Jason Leifer wrote the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and here's the letter he...

Posted by simon at 12:27 PM