On September 13, 2013, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, an advocacy group based in Finger Lakes, New York, sued the New York Department of Health (NYDOH), seeking the disclosure of documents related to the state’s review of hydraulic fracturing, which has been banned in New York since 2008.
The NYDOH is conducting an ongoing review of the state’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which addresses permit conditions required for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and other areas of New York, to determine whether those guidelines would adequately protect public health.
In its filing, the group, which is critical of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, requested the disclosure of any factual documents or statistics that were used in the state’s decision-making process for banning hydraulic fracturing in the state.
The request was filed under Article 78 of New York’s Civil Practice Law, under which interested persons may challenge the decision of a state governmental body, agency, or official.
The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association has previously filed requests under the Freedom of Information Law, seeking NYDOH documents used in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft environmental review of large-scale hydraulic fracturing and the Health Commissioner’s assessment of that review.