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Driller to NY: Stop the local bans or we'll sue

A natural gas drilling company is taking a new tack in the industry's fight against local drilling bans around New York: It's threatening to sue the state if regulators don't extinguish the bans. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports.

John Holko, president of Lenape  Resources, sent a letter to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. Holko says a moratorium on gas development in the Livingston County town of Avon forced Lenape to shut down wells. The vertical wells weren't subject to new regulations being developed for horizontal wells.

Holko says Avon's moratorium violates a 1981 law saying state law supersedes local law in regulation of gas development.

Bans in two other towns have been upheld by trial-level state supreme court judges. A DEC spokeswoman said the agency will defer to the courts regarding local bans.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.