State Court of Appeals upholds home rules against fracking

New York’s State Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of local officials right to home rule against hydraulic fracturing (hydro tracking), upholding a lower courts decision to support the rights to pass zoning laws banning the controversial natural gas extraction method within their borders.

In their 5-2 ruling, the courts stood by the decision from last year, saying that the statewide Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not trump local governments home rule authorities to pass zoning laws.

Based on cases from New York towns Dryden and Middlefield,  the courts ruled that the towns were within their rights to enact zoning laws against fracking.

“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,”  Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in the decision. 

Graffeo also said that the heart of the cases was not about the economic, environmental or energy needs of the state, but instead about the relationships between state and local governments. 

Read the full decision below: 


Court of Appeals Decision. 6-30-2014