New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against several federal agencies yesterday for failing to prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before adoptingDelaware River Basin Commission regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin.Commission (“DRBC”) regulations that would authorize natural gas development within the Delaware River Basin. The complaint is here. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Schneiderman argued that the agency should not be drafting its own rules without the benefit of a comprehensive environmental impact study like the one that New York is conducting before hydrofracking is allowed in the state. The lawsuit takes the Army Corps and other federal agencies to task for resisting such a study, saying it is required by federal law.
“Before any decisions on drilling are made, it is our responsibility to follow the facts and understand the public health and safety effects posed by potential natural gas development,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement.
The Army Corps of Engineers had no comment on the suit, but in a recent letter to Mr. Schneiderman, Brig. Gen. Peter A. DeLuca of the Army Corps argued that the federal law requiring an environmental study does not apply to the commission because the regional body is not a federal agency. He also noted that other comprehensive studies were under way, including one by the Environmental Protection Agency, to determine the possible impact of hydrofracking on water quality.