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High court upholds local bans on fracking

ALBANY – A ruling by the State Court of Appeals ruling that the local zoning laws in two upstate towns are valid may have wide ranging impact on the industry in New York.

The state has yet to rule on whether to allow the process of high pressure extraction of methane gas from shale formations like the Marcellus formation.

In a decision by the state’s high court dated Monday, June 30, the judges ruled that local zoning laws in the towns of  Dryden, in Tompkins County, and Middlefield, in Otsego County, may take precedence over higher authority.

“We are asked in these two appeals whether towns may ban oil and gas production activities, including hydrofracking, within municipal boundaries through the adoption of local zoning laws. We conclude that they may because the supersession clause in the statewide Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law does not preempt the home rule authority bested in municipalities to regulate land use.”