Born-Again-Billionaire Balks at Backing Bovine’s Appeal Against Middlefield
Born-Again Billionaire Phil Anschutz is balking at appealing his lawsuit against Dryden and may not back Cooperstown Holstein’s appeal against the Town of Middlefield. Says it’s too expensive, and is looking for some other group to pay for it.
Anshcutz’s lawsuit against the Town of Dryden was recycled by Anschutz’s attorney / lobbyist Tom West, who represented the Middlefield plaintiff.
West recycled most of the Dryden complaint against Middlefield, including a bizarre affidavit from former DEC Minerals Management chief Greg Sovas. Sovas’s affidavit consisted of the hearsay recollections of an unrecorded telephone conversation with a dead man. The trial courts were unpersuaded, because the language of the statute itself was clear: the DEC regulates how a well is drilled, a town, through its zoning laws, can prohibit where wells are drilled. That is customary throughout the US. Read Sovas contradicting his own affidavit on page 2:
The rent-a-plaintiff in the Middlefield suit is Cooperstown Holstein, headed by Ms. Jennifer Huntington – who may have lost her appeal to Anschutz even before she appeals.
In addition to suing towns and milking cows, Ms. Huntington also cashes USDA government subsidy checks as a corporate welfare queen – busy gal. A cool $750,000 from the USDA:
Ms. Huntington may be looking for a new Frack-Daddy to back her appeal against her hometown. Ms. Huntington may not find appealing this state supreme court ruling so appealing. The Middlefield ruling, in conjunction with the Dryden ruling, are an encyclopedia of how zoning applies to gas wells in New York. Neither court erred in their decisions, neither are likely to be reversed if appealed:
After the Dryden and Middlefield decisions, West mumbled about filing a “takings” claim against the towns. If only to milk Anschutz for more legal fees. No more mention of that because there was no regulatory “takings” in either town – and West knows it. He has since shut the frack up about it.
West subsequently hinted that he had found a 31 year old memo – either written by the Pope or Greg Sovas, he’s not sure – that supposedly forbids towns from using their zoning authority or declaring war on Canada. And that this 3 decades old memo might be the basis of an appeal in Middlefield – if Ms. Huntington can cash her USDA check in time. Of course, since this memo was written 31 years ago, there have been several legal cases cited by both the Dryden and Middlefiled courts that have concluded that New York towns can apply their zoning laws to where gas wells may or may not be drilled. Plus the clear meaning of statutes adopted in the last 30 years, along with the published memorandum that accompanied those statutes and the published statements of the DEC.
Tom Boy West has until April Fool’s Day to notice up an appeal of Dryden – based on the mystery memo.
Or shut the frack up.
West, who also doubles as a lobbyist, was last seen slouching towards Albany with a carpetbag full of lagniappe. . .
“Tom West, an attorney for Anschutz, told me he did not expect to pursue an appeal, which would be expensive.”
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Status of Home Rule appeals uncertain as deadline nears Arguing against local control could put Republicans on spot
Appeal in Dryden gas drilling case uncertain, but decision likely next week
5:30 PM, Mar. 22, 2012 |
“I cannot predict the fate of whether the Dryden case will be appealed or not,” he said. “Anschutz is fed up with New York. It is a terrible state to do business in. You try and work with agencies to come up with a responsible program for high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the municipality cuts your legs from underneath you.”
West said he is waiting on a final decision from Anschutz and hopes to talk to the company in the next couple of days. The deadline to file a notice of appeal is April 2, but West said he expects a decision next week and for documents to be filed and served next week if the company decides to appeal.
At this point, he said, Anschutz is looking to see if someone else would take over the case.
“It is a question of funding more than anything else,” he said. “They are looking for someone else to fund the case.”
(“They” = Anschutz. Maybe Ms Huntington can cash one of her USDA checks to pay for it . . .)
Tompkins County Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey ruled in February that the town’s zoning amendment is not preempted by state law. The town was sued in September by Denver-based Anschutz after passing an amendment to its zoning ordinance in August that clarified that Dryden’s zoning prohibits extractive industries.
In a similar case, Otsego County Acting Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio ruled in February that the Town of Middlefield was within its rights under state law when it passed a ban on oil and gas drilling in June. West said an appeal is likely to be filed against the Town of Middlefield in the case.
The Town of Dryden has been offered pro bono representation by Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg. The board will vote on who will represent the town if Anschutz appeals, said town board member Linda Lavine.”
Meanwhile, Upstate towns act to protect themselves . . . like they do in Denver, Ancshutz’s home town.