Although the New York Court of Appeals will have the final say concerning municipal bans on oil and gas development in New York State, the final word from industry and landowners occurred today with the filing and service of final briefs in the Dryden and Middlefield cases. The West Firm continues to serve as counsel to the Norse Energy Corp. USA Bankruptcy Trustee in the Dryden case and co-counsel to the working farm/landowner, Cooperstown Holstein Corporation, in the Middlefield case. These reply briefs are the last briefs from the parties, although we expect that there will be a number of additional amicus filings in both cases. These reply briefs respond to the many arguments put forth by the Towns in both cases urging the New York Court of Appeals to follow mining precedent under the Mind Land Reclamation Law, rather than viewing this important preemption issue in the context of the Oil and Gas Solution Mining Law. As noted in these reply briefs, the OGSML has unique underpinnings from the Interstate Compact Commission, special statutory purposes to prevent waste, promote the development of our indigenous oil and gas resources and to protect the correlative rights of all mineral owners, and many statutory and regulatory provisions that demonstrate head-on conflict with a ban on oil and gas development. Copies of both briefs are available through the links set forth below.
The West Firm takes pride in these filings, which leave no stone unturned regarding this important issue to the future of oil and gas development in New York State. These briefs were filed on behalf of the Trustee and the landowner/farmer, pro bono, and without financial support from the industry. If you would like to support the cause or file an amicus brief, please contact Tom West at 518-641-0500.
Both cases will be scheduled for argument in the second quarter of 2014 and it is likely that there will be a decision before the Court recesses at the end of June.