New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit yesterday claiming that the Federal Government has a duty to conduct an environmental impact study before any decision about gas drilling within the Delaware River Basin can be made.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has 5 commissioners. Four of the 5 represent states--NY, NJ, PA, Delaware--and not the federal government. The fifth commissioner does represent the federal government.
Decisions of the DRBC are made by a majority vote of the 5 commissioners. DRBC itself was organized through an act of Congress. DRBC funding comes from the federal and state governments as well as other sources.
So what does that all add up to under the National Environmental Policy Act? Does it mean that the DRBC cannot act without first doing a full environmental impact study under NEPA?
These questions posed by the lawsuit have increased uncertainty and legal risk. That is certain.
But what is the legal prognosis for the NY AG suit? Will it win or lose? And what happens while the wheels of justice grind?
I would welcome all comments but particularly on the legal issues presented by this legal action.