Marcellus Shale

Dryden Landowners Appalled by Decision: DSEC Press Release

Unfortunately, as our anti-gas friends incessantly remind us, the Supreme Court of Tompkins County, New York, ruled in favor of the Town of Dryden and its dubious ban on natural gas development.  Justice Philip Rumsey, with his decision, temporarily empowered Dryden’s Town Board to legally strip property rights from its residents without regard to the constitutional, ethical or other implications. This questionable verdict, preliminary in nature at best, has already become a rallying point for the anti-gas political agenda, as the Park Foundation funded Community Environmental Defense Council (CEDC) lobbies for more bans across the state.

Landowner across upstate New York are negatively impacted by the judge’s decision and the actions of the Town of Dryden.  Property rights are endangered every day by those who would substitute their judgments, regarding the highest and best use of land, for those of the owners who pay the taxes.  Even worse, they do so on the basis of the flimsiest of health and safety concerns.  Mere speculation there might be problems seems to be enough these days for local officials with delusions of power dancing in their heads to trash the property rights of landowners.  What can be done?  Well, the first step is to grasp what’s happening.

A press release from members of Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (DSEC) puts things in perspective. This organization is dedicated to preserving landowner rights and educating the public on what’s at stake.  Please share these observations with friends and neighbors after reviewing it.

Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (DSEC)

Press Release on Anschutz Case
For release at 7:00 PM, February 22, 2012

The Dryden Safe Energy Coalition has read with interest the decision of State Supreme Court Justice Rumsey in the Anschutz suit against the Town of Dryden.

Henry Kramer, attorney and co-founder of DSEC noted, “We are a long way from a Court of Appeals decision that would set statewide precedent.  Anschutz has some choices to make.  Their options include an appeal to the Appellate Division.  Or they could decide not to appeal the zoning issue and instead proceed to a suit for an entire taking of their property interests in the Town of Dryden, valued at five million dollars.  So, while the Town may win the zoning battle, it may suffer ultimate defeat if the courts require the Town’s taxpayers to pay for the property rights the Town took.”

“Further, the court found a technical reason to throw out some legislative history of the Environmental Conservation Law, whose preemption provision was written specifically to stop local regulation of vertical drilling.  In its analysis that the mining and oil and gas laws are substantially the same the court overlooked a guiding principle of statutory interpretation, that the Legislature’s use of words is informed and that every word and difference is intended to have meaning.  Reasoning by analogy from differently worded statutes is dangerous.  They are different, not by accident, but for a reason.”

“We caution against drawing too many conclusions from this decision.  We are certain that activist groups will seize on this decision as though it was the final word.  We anticipated, and continue to anticipate, that is merely the first round in a long and drawn out legal battle.  Undoubtedly it will spawn more bans and moratoria as those opposed to energy development seek to prevent any production of fossil fuels in New York State and look to this decision for support.”

DSEC co-founder Tom Reynolds said, “today’s decision means local pocket majorities will be able to create a patchwork quilt of regulation differing about every ten miles and changeable by election every two years instead of providing New York with a uniform standard designed and implemented by an expert agency.  If sustained, the decision will probably show that New York is not serious about being open for business and lacks real concern for jobs, the economy, and high paying work opportunities for the 22% below the poverty line in Tompkins County.  The message has implications for any business considering coming to New York.”

DSEC co-founder Tracy Marisa said, “the decision allows towns to override any personal landowner choices about what to do with their land.  The Town’s ban takes away that freedom and the Town makes the decision for all.  Thus the decision is not only about hydraulic fracturing but also represents a loss of personal freedom of choice and vests ever more power in government.”

Submitted by and for verification, Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (DSEC)
Henry S. Kramer
1524 Ellis Hollow Rd., Ithaca NY 14850
(607) 275-3653 or
Dryden Residents for Safe Energy Devlopment
 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Post A Comment