Appalachian Basin

Joint Landowners Coalition Looking for Support for Natural Gas Lawsuit

RachaelThe Joint Landowners Coalition of New York State (JLCNY) wants New York State to start permitting natural gas development. Frustratingly, that’s already supposed to be state policy.

The JLCNY thinks the State of New York has been toying with landowner property rights for five years too long. Dan Fitzsimmons, President of the group, has sent out a letter to his coalition members asking for financial support for an initiative to end the charade.  From the letter:

Contributions for our lawsuit against New York have been coming in steadily but we still need additional funds before we can move forward with the litigation. We heard from some of you who held off on contributing, hoping that a final decision might come from the Governor by April 12, 2013. Instead, all we received were more excuses and further confirmation that our property rights have already been taken.

On February 8, 2013, the NYS Health Department Commissioner said he would be finished with his health review in a “few weeks” – that was over 2 months ago!

On April 22, 2013, Fred Dicker of the New York Post said: “Sources said Cuomo had also told associates that he’s decided to put off a final decision until the end of next year because he wants to get through his 2014 re-election campaign without being harassed by anti-hydrofracking protestors who have dogged him during several public appearances.”

On April 14, 2013, New York Magazine reported on an interview with Governor Cuomo. The Governor asked what if a “child falls into a well casing?” “I don’t want the liability, frankly, and I don’t have the knowledge.” So much for decisions based on science and facts. If the Governor had ever visited a well site, he would know that such an accident is impossible.

Yes, folks. That’s the state of the debate over responsible natural gas development in New York now. The Governor is delaying because he’s worried that an impossible event might happen. I thought this whole process was supposed to be based on science?

Fitzsimmons adds:

On April 19, 2013, Susan Arbetter asked the Governor what his economic plans would be if HVHF is not approved. The Governor suggested that he will rely on yogurt to lift upstate New York from poverty. He said “Economic development no longer works on a big bang theory, have to develop a thousand economic flowers.” For some reason our Governor does not understand that yogurt economics will not save New York. From former Secretary Hillary Clinton to Governor Jerry Brown to President Obama, all of our nation’s leaders, except Governor Cuomo, recognize that shale gas is a game changer for our country’s economy.

The SGEIS was ready to be released Labor Day 2012 until politics took over again. In July we will have been waiting to realize the benefits of natural gas development for 5 years. By all indications, New York has already made its decision to deprive New York landowners of our constitutionally protected property rights.

It’s time to stand up for our rights.

Attached you will find information about our lawsuit against New York State. This case is not about individual gain. It is about the people of this state holding our government accountable.

Please consider sending any donation you can afford to the “Landowner Defense Fund”. I cannot emphasize enough what is at stake for us all. Our mineral rights will be lost if we cannot win this struggle!

It’s time to stand up for our rights.” If there is a more accurate and succinct way of describing the colossally screwed up situation in New York, we certainly haven’t heard it.

Landowners who share that sentiment have several options if they want to help.  The JLCNY is using the Chemung Canal Trust Company, for example, as their bank of choice for gathering funding.


Landowners can join the lawsuit as plaintiffs, but those who do not wish to participate in that fashion can also donate, Fitzsimmons says. By visiting the JLCNY website, folks can easily follow the steps outlined there.  Please note they have also set up a form to facilitate donations (see below).


The JLCNY, despite many disappointments of the last few years, is committed to pushing forward and persisting until victory is achieved. After years of delay and lost opportunities, it seems the time for talk has ended. The only question is, will enough landowners step up to the plate?

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