Monday, June 30, 2014

Court Rules that New York Towns Can Ban Fracking and Drilling

Ban-Fracking lawn sign (Credit: AP Photo/Jim Suhr) Click to enlarge.
New York towns and cities are allowed to pass bans on oil and gas drilling and fracking, the state’s highest court ruled Monday.

The New York Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of a lower court that local governments have the authority to decide how land is used, which includes deciding whether or not fracking and drilling should be allowed on that land.  The Court of Appeals heard arguments on two cases challenging local bans on fracking in June.  The plaintiffs in those lawsuits argued that New York’s oil, gas and mining law takes precedence over local zoning laws, but in rulings both by a lower court and now the Court of Appeals, that claim was overturned.

Two New York towns — Middlefield and Dryden — that previously banned fracking were the focus of the lawsuits, but the ruling means that now other municipalities in New York can pass laws that ban fracking and drilling.  So far, activists say, 170 towns and cities in New York have passed fracking bans or moratoria.

“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination.  It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer said in a statement.

Court Rules that New York Towns Can Ban Fracking and Drilling

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