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Olmsted Parks Conservancy Honors Pro-Fracking Lawyer

According to a press release received this morning, former Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy board chair David J. Colligan is being honored at the 10th annual Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO) Gala on Friday, July 13. Colligan also served as a co-chair of Re-Tree WNY, and is currently a board member of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp, and chairman of the Outer Harbor Development Committee. 

“We are deeply appreciative of David’s dedication to the parks and to this community.  The impact of both his knowledge and his hard work will be evident in the parks and beyond for many, many years” said Thomas Herrera-Mishler, president & CEO for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Now let’s look at Colligan’s day job. As a partner at Watson Bennett Colligan & Schecter LLP, he handles business related to oil and gas leasing, and has hosted a pro-fracking blog ( for the past several months. From the blog:

On April 17, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations which include the first Federal air standards for natural gas wells that are hydraulically fractured.  The new regulations also have new requirements for several other sources of pollution in the Oil and Gas industry that currently are not regulated at the Federal level.  The final rule can be found at the following link:

             To individuals in New York State who hope someday to use their properties for oil and gas exploration utilizing hydraulic fracking, this new EPA rule can be viewed as good news.  New York has been gaining a reputation throughout the country as being too heavy handed in formulating their regulations with respect to hydraulic fracturing.  However, as is often the case in new, risky, and potentially dangerous activity, individual states tend to regulate the activities with a myriad of often overlapping and conflicting regulations.  In the past when this has happened, the Federal government steps in and begins passing regulations that apply to all industry participants.  This is the first example of an industry wide federal regulation being enacted with respect to hydraulic fracturing.  It’s reasonable to believe that new and different rules will be issued by the EPA.  The net effect of these new rules will be to make the New York State Regulatory scheme look less burdensome to the industry and therefore make New York State more attractive to future oil and gas exploration.  This blog will try to keep you up to date on developments as they occur.

He also spoke optimistically on the future of fracking in New York state in this Business First article from May 25, saying: “I think there’s a very good chance that we could be drilling the Marcellus here in New York by year-end.” He’ll be speaking at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Landowner Liability Workshop on Saturday, September 29, 2012. With his experience in timber law, Colligan is also well suited to advise clients looking to sell their trees to clear space for the many work roads, pipelines, and well pads that will need to be constructed if New York lifts its current moratorium on high-volume horizontal fracking. 

On May 31 we sent Colligan an email asking why he thinks “there’s a very good chance that we could be drilling the Marcellus here in New York by year-end.” He did not respond.

Colligan is also quoted in a June 22 Business First story, along with John Martin, co-director of the widely criticized Shale Resources and Society Institute at UB.

This year’s swank FLO Gala is dubbed “One Golden Evening.” Guests will enjoy a memorable evening with cocktails, a gourmet dinner prepared by Magnolia Events, classic car rides, live musical entertainment by the Buffalo Swing and an exciting auction. The evening will be capped by a beautiful fireworks display, according to the press release. Watson Bennett Attorneys are listed as a sponsor of the event.

Click here to read all about this year’s soiree. Tickets are $175 per person.