Court Says New York Communities Can Ban Fracking

July 14, 2014

More than 170 towns in the state of New York have used zoning laws to ban or put a moratorium on fracking. In June, the highest court in the state upheld the right of municipalities to ban the practice via zoning, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Courts in both New York and Pennsylvania have allowed municipalities to make their own decisions about the gas extraction method, despite plaintiffs' claims that state oil and gas law superseded local zoning rules. Colorado courts are also looking at the fracking issue.

New York is home to 20 percent of the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. Fracking supporters argue that the ruling threatens to chill investment in the state's oil and gas industry. Fracking, they say, is safe and offers a significant source of revenue for New York towns that have struggled economically.

Since 2008, gas drillers have been unable to engage in fracking in New York while state agencies have been conducting environmental reviews. 

Source: Joseph De Avila, Mike Vilensky and Russell Gold, "New York Communities Can Ban Fracking, Court Rules," Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2014.

 

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