New York's highest court allows local 'fracking' bans - FOX 35 News Orlando

New York's highest court allows local 'fracking' bans

Posted: Updated:
This diagram shows the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. (EPA image) This diagram shows the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. (EPA image)

By MICHAEL HILL | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's top court handed a victory to opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas Monday by affirming the right of municipalities to ban the practice within their borders.

The state Court of Appeals upheld a midlevel appeals court ruling from last year that said the state oil and gas law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use through zoning.

The "fracking" cases from two central New York towns have been closely watched by drillers hoping to tap into the state's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists who fear water and air pollution.

Both sides are still waiting to see whether a statewide moratorium on fracking in effect since July 2008 will be lifted.

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.

Fracking frees gas from deep rock deposits by injecting wells with chemical-laden water at high pressure. It has helped boost U.S. oil and gas production to the highest level in more than a quarter-century but has mobilized environmentalists alarmed at its rise.

Drilling opponents say more than 170 towns have passed bans or moratoriums. Another 40 towns have passed resolutions supporting gas development.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he won't decide whether to lift the state's 6-year-old moratorium on fracking for gas until a health impact review launched in 2012 is completed. There's no timetable for the review.

The group New Yorkers Against Fracking renewed its call on Cuomo to enact a permanent statewide ban in light of the high court decision, saying "water and air contamination don't stop at local boundaries."

The Dryden ban was challenged by a trustee for Norse Energy, an Oslo, Norway-based company that went bankrupt after amassing thousands of leases on New York land it was never able to develop. The Middlefield ban was challenged by Cooperstown Holstein, a dairy farm that had leased land for drilling.

Karen Moreau of the state Petroleum Council said the ruling threatens the rights of landowners who want to lease their property for development and reduces the chances of long-term investment in the region, given the turnover in local boards.

"There are real losses here, and it's a real tragedy for thousands of impoverished farmers and rural people," she said.

In his dissent, Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. argued that the local ordinances, which touch on areas like storage and productions materials, are so broadly written they create "a blanket ban" on the industry.

"The zoning ordinances of Dryden and Middlefield do more than just regulate land use, they regulate oil, gas and solution mining industries under the zoning," he wrote.

A number of communities across the nation have enacted fracking bans. This is not the first time a state's top court has considered the role of local regulations.

In December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down significant portions of a state law that limited the power of local governments to determine where the natural gas drilling industry can operate. Seven municipalities sued, arguing that the zoning restrictions ran counter to objectives of protecting the environment, health and safety of people who live there.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:07:23 GMT
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.

  • Marijuana supplier named Pot Playboy gets 27 years

    Marijuana supplier named Pot Playboy gets 27 years

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:27 AM EDT2014-08-21 10:27:58 GMT
    Prosecutors in New York say a Canadian drug kingpin who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking...
    Prosecutors say a Canadian drug kingpin who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers and was dubbed the Pot Playboy has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise. Jimmy Cournoyer had ties to organized crime and drug cartels. Authorities say proceeds financed a lifestyle that included a supermodel girlfriend and a super-expensive car, the Bugatti Veyron.
  • Five Guys offers bacon milkshakes

    Five Guys offers bacon milkshakes

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-08-20 22:47:08 GMT
    Burger chain Five Guys is testing the adage that everything tastes better with bacon. It is rolling out a customizable milkshake program and along with bananas, peanut butter, Oreo cookies, salted caramel, you can chose bacon.  Yes that's right: a bacon milkshake.
    Burger chain Five Guys is testing the adage that everything tastes better with bacon. It is rolling out a customizable milkshake program and along with bananas, peanut butter, Oreo cookies, salted caramel, you can chose bacon.  Yes that's right: a bacon milkshake.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices