New York's highest court will hear arguments about whether local governments should be allowed to prohibit fracking operations like the one in southwestern Pennsylvania, above.
New York’s highest court will hear arguments about whether local governments should be allowed to prohibit fracking operations like the one in southwestern Pennsylvania, above. ()

A group of upstate landowners have filed a notice they will appeal a state Supreme Court ruling that denied their attempt to have the courts compel the Cuomo administration to decide whether or not commercial fracking for natural gas is legal in New York state.

The plaintiffs in Joint Landowners Coalition of New York v. Cuomo, 843-2014, have filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division,Third Department of Acting Albany County Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough’s (See Profile) ruling that they do not have standing to sue the governor.

McDonough determined on July 11 that the plaintiffs could not make the necessary showing they are suffering economic harm due to the inability of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to complete a supplemental generic environmental impact statement about whether hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is safe for the environment and the public (NYLJ, July 15).

Cuomo says his administration has been studying the question since he took office in January 2011.

At the same time, McDonough made a nearly identical finding in Wallach v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 6770-2013, in which he said the plaintiff also lacked standing to force the administration to make a fracking decision. The plaintiff’s attorney in Wallach, Thomas West of Albany, said his client will probably also appeal, but has not decided for sure yet.

The Joint Landowners Coalition is being represented by Scott Kurkoski, partner in Levene, Gouldin & Thompson of Vestal.