Natural gas companies have tried plying Albany with millions of dollars in donations and lobbying and biased studies about the safety of hydrofracking. But public officials keep stalling and municipalities across the state continue to enact bans on the practice because would you want someone injecting millions of gallons of water, sand, hazardous chemicals, and "brine and other waste liquids" underneath your home? But Lenape Resources Inc. has had enough of this environmental dithering and is suing the town of Avon, New York and the Department of Environmental Conservation for delaying man's divinely ordained destiny to wring every decayed fossil out of the Earth, drinking water be damned.
Avon, a town of around 7,000 people, enacted one of 150 bans or moratoriums on fracking in New York State, and even exempted Lenape's 16 existing vertical wells from the statute. But Lenape alleges that the ban, if it's upheld, prevents them from fracking and drilling horizontal wells, which would cost them an estimated $50 million.
Despite the fact that the language of Avon's moratorium clearly exempts Lenape's wells, the company used force majeure to shut them all down, stopping the flow of gas and royalty checks to the town. Here's Lenape's CEO, John Holko, defending that decision:
"Now I'm the bad guy. Now all of a sudden the gas I was giving everybody, and the places that got it for free are telling me that I'm the bad guy…I didn't do it out of spite, I didn't do this to make a point. I did this because it's clearly the proper business decision."
Wouldn't the proper business decision be...to keep doing business? Holko also compares the natural gas business to widgets, despite the fact that widgets have never been known to cause earthquakes or inject benzene into groundwater.
"It doesn't have provisions that protects me from what I have already developed," Holko tells the Wall Street Journal. "I can't drill another well in the town. That's my business."