Yesterday, advocates of town "home rule" won a key legal battle in the ongoing statewide debate about hydraulic fracturing. A Tompkins County state Supreme Court judge ruled that a gas drilling ban passed by the town of Dryden could stand.
Jon Campbell, a Gannett reporter who has been following the gas drilling issue closely, has the story, along with the full text of judge Phillip Rumsey's decision.
Campbell writes that Rumsey based his decision on older case law involving mining:
Judge Phillip Rumsey found that a clause in the state’s oil and gas law that gives regulatory power to the state does not prohibit municipalities from banning gas drilling or using its zoning laws to prohibit it. He cited case law that allowed a town to issue zoning regulations for the mining industry, and said the “supercedure clauses” in the state laws governing the mining and gas industries serve the same purpose.
The case is very likely to be appealed, and a similar case in the Otsego County town of Middlefield is still pending.