New York Court Approves Local Fracking Bans

This week the New York Court of Appeals upheld the right of localities to limit fracking through zoning laws, complicating any potential repeal by Governor Cuomo of the state-wide fracking moratorium. The verdict “may invigorate local challenges to fracking in other states and convince the industry to stay out of New York even if Cuomo allows drilling. Pennsylvania’s highest court issued a similar ruling last year, striking down portions of a state law limiting localities’ ability to regulate drillers,” according to Bloomberg.

The judgment comes after the New York Assembly voted in June to extend a state-wide moratorium on fracking for three more years, a measure that has yet to be approved by the New York Senate or Governor Cuomo.

From the Associated Press:

“The court in a 5-2 decision stressed that it did not consider the merits of fracking, only the authority of municipalities to regulate land use. The court said the towns of Dryden and Middlefield both acted properly.

‘The towns both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately-cultivated, small-town character of their communities,’ according to the majority ruling by Judge Victoria Graffeo.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that over 170 towns in New York state have passed drilling bans or moratoriums, and at the same time “about 39% of the electricity [New York]  generates is from natural gas, up from 20% a decade ago, according to the federal government.”