Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
NY Top Court: Favors Local Fracking Bans
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ITHACA (WENY) -- A victory for opponents of hydraulic fracturing.
After a three year battle between landowners and Norse Energy, formerly Anschutz Exploration Corporation, the New York State of Court Appeals voted in favor of Home Rule, which allows municipalities to pass their own local laws. In this case, changing zoning to ban hydraulic fracturing within town limits.
The ruling comes after Dryden's Town Board changed its zoning ordinance in August 2011 to clarify that oil and gas development, including fracking were prohibited.
Deputy Supervisor, Jason Leifer lead the efforts.
"The gas is here it's been here for millions of years. It's not going anywher," said Liefer. "If they want it, they're going to play by community rules and they're going to have to live with the fact that not all communities want them there."
Middlefield made a similar ruling, but a dairy farmer who wanted to allow fracking on her land sued. As did Norse Energy.
Scott Kurkoski of the Joint Landowners Coalition, represents that dairy farmer, and is disappointed with the decision.
"The development that will come to Upstate New York will give us reason for our children to come home," said Kurkosli. "They'll have employment opportunities. We'll have environmental concerns addressed becasue even The President has said the switch to natural gas has reduced our carbon emissions to levels not seen since 1994."
Kurkoski thinks the ruling could make it easier for Governor Cuomo to make his decision on ending the state's six year moratorium on hydrofracking. He thinks it would allow communities that support it to allow fracking within their borders, and those who don't to pass their own local bans.