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UPDATE – Municipal Fracking Bans Upheld

On May 2, an appeals court decision in the Dryden and Middlefield cases upheld local zoning laws that ban fracking within town borders, finding that such bans do not conflict with New York State’s Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML). The court ruled that “the OGSML does not preempt, either expressly or impliedly, a municipality’s power to enact a local zoning ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and the production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum within its borders.”

This is great news for New York municipalities, which retain a powerful tool for protecting their citizens, environment, and public health from fracking. Said Watershed Program Director Kate Hudson:

“The court’s decision is monumental, as it confirms the right of municipalities in New York to exercise their ‘Home Rule’ authority to zone out natural gas development. Today these municipalities’ right to protect their citizens from the harmful effects of fracking was clearly upheld. Without these rights, corporations would have the unfettered ability to drill and frack within a few feet from homes, schools, hospitals, and religious institutions and local government would be powerless to intervene.

This ruling makes it absolutely clear that communities do have the authority to determine uses of their land and take measures to protect their residents and environment should fracking move forward in New York and will set the precedent for other town officials previously unsure about their authority to follow suit.”

For more information on the Dryden and Middlefield municipal fracking ban cases, see Riverkeeper’s earlier post on the subject.

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