Energy / Hydraulic Fracturing

Supporting home rule over fracking in NY: NRDC files brief on behalf of environmental and non-profit orgs

NEW YORK, NY — “Yesterday, NRDC filed an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief in the appeals of the Dryden and Middlefield decisions rendered earlier this year.  The brief—filed on behalf of Catskill Mountainkeeper; Delaware Riverkeeper Network; Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County; Otsego 2000; the Preservation League Of New York State; Riverkeeper; Theodore Gordon Flyfishers; Vestal Residents For Safe Energy; and NRDC itself—supports both the fracking bans enacted by the towns of Dryden and Middlefield and also the right of municipalities everywhere to use local control to determine if and where fracking occurs within their communities.

For those just tuning in, these cases involve claims that the language in New York’s oil and gas law granting the State exclusive control over laws ‘relating to the regulation of oil [and] gas . . . industries’ overrides or ‘preempts’ the ability of New York towns to pass zoning ordinances relating to fracking.  Although this language had never been interpreted before in the context of a fracking ban, the lower courts in both the Dryden and Middlefield cases found New York law to be clear—zoning regulation is not industrial regulation, and, therefore, the state oil and gas law does not destroy local zoning authority.  (This logic was also followed by a third New York trial court this fall.)”

— Daniel Raichel, NRDC Switchboard

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