New York’s Highest Court to Rule on Whether Local Authorities can Ban Fracking

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New York’s Highest Court to Rule on Whether Local Authorities can Ban FrackingNew York Court of Appeals is expected to rule before the Fourth of July whether local municipalities can evoke zoning laws to prohibit development of shale gas using fracking within their jurisdictions.

The state’s highest court listened to oral arguments on Tuesday on two lawsuits in which a junior appellate court ruled that the state’s oil and gas legislation doesn’t overrule the power of local authorities to regulate land use, reported the Chronicle.

Both the oil industry and environmentalists are keenly monitoring the case, which could determine whether the oil and gas industry can drill in New York’s section of the Marcellus Shale rocks. The energy industry activists argue that if local authorities get the power to ban fracking, it will create uncertainty that will hinder efficient extraction of shale gas.

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“It has a very chilling effect because it’s very hard for operators to justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to come in and not have regulatory certainty,” said energy industry lawyer Tom West.

Nonetheless, most of the local authorities that have banned fracking are located outside the shale gas-rich areas, close to the border with Pennsylvania. The lawsuits placed before the Court of Appeals cover fracking bans in rural central New York towns of Middlefield and Dryden.

A trustee of Norse Energy, a Norwegian energy firm that folded up after leasing acres of land it was unable to develop, is challenging the ban by Dryden town. Cooperstown Holstein, a dairy farm the leased land for energy drilling, is challenging the Middlefield ban.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a method of oil and natural gas extraction that involves pumping in a mixture of chemicals, sand and water into the underground shale rocks at high pressure in order to release the trapped oil or natural gas. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com