U.S. calls New York anti-drilling lawsuit premature

U.S. calls New York anti-drilling lawsuit premature by Jessica Dye, July 24, 2012, Reuters
During oral arguments Tuesday on the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Levy argued that New York could not object to the lack of environmental review until the Delaware River Basin Commission had issued a final version of the regulations. “Right now, the injuries are hypothetical, not actual,” Levy said. She added that the United States could not control the actions of the commission, which comprises one representative from each of the four states bordering the river plus one from the federal government, and could not be sued for its decisions. … Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the commission was required to perform an analysis under the act as soon as the proposal was issued, and that it was the commission’s responsibility to find the funds to do so. Until such a review is complete, they said, the final regulations should be blocked. “There’s no NEPA exception for the commission,” said Phillip Bein, an attorney in the New York attorney general’s office. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis reserved his decision on the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. He voiced concern for the potential impact on urban centers like New York City that rely on the Delaware River Basin for water. “There’s a serious reason to be concerned about the water supply,” Garaufis said. “If something happens, it could have a detrimental effect on millions of people.”

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