Home rule prevails again: Middlefield's gas drilling ban upheld in court

The legality of town bans on gas drilling in New York State is being tested in court -- and so far, the bans are holding up. Today, a state judge upheld a gas drilling ban in the Otsego County town of Middlefield, which was challenged by a local dairy farming company.

The New York Times reports:

...an acting State Supreme Court justice, Donald F. Cerio Jr., found that New York law did not prohibit municipalities from enacting legislation pertaining to land use. He said that while the state had regulatory powers over “the method and manner of drilling and the like” so that the gas industry operated under uniform standards statewide, local governments could decide whether they wanted drilling at all.

Middlefield's case was the second of two closely watched recent lawsuits filed against town gas drilling bans. The other, in the Tompkins County town of Dryden, was decided in the town's favor on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

The issue hasn't been put to rest yet. Both cases are likely to be appealed.