Yesterday, ProPublica put forth a really nice piece covering the state of fracking (or lack there of) in New York. In a question and answer format, they focus on specific topics that many of my friends and co-workers ask about on a daily basis. Unless you are a die-hard fractivist, it can be tough to keep up with all the different aspects of the fight. This article does a good job of answering the basic questions on peoples’ minds. Here is a short excerpt related to the Dryden and Middlefield lawsuits that were finalized last month…
I vaguely remember reading something about a recent court ruling in New York. It made a lot of the anti-fracking activists very happy. What was it about?
Two small towns in upstate New York, Dryden and Middlefield, had banned fracking within their boundaries. Soon after, an energy company in Dryden and a dairy farm that had leased land for drilling in Middlefield sued the municipalities, arguing that the towns did not have the authority to limit drilling activity. The lower courts initially dismissed the lawsuits. On appeal, intermediate level courts upheld the ruling and most recently the state Court of Appeals also upheld the decision.
“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,” wrote Judge Victoria Graffeo in the majority ruling.
And why is this court ruling so important?
It gives towns the authority to decide whether they’re willing to allow fracking within their town boundaries. Several towns already have bans in place against fracking. This ruling ensures that if those towns were to be met with similar lawsuits, they’d still be able to enforce the ban. Also, if Cuomo lifted the state-wide moratorium, towns can individually take action through local ordinances.
I encourage you to read the full article.