Appeals Court Upholds Local Fracking Bans

New York municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas, a mid-level state appeals court said Thursday.

State mining and drilling law doesn’t trump the authority of local governments to control land use, the four-judge appellate division panel ruled unanimously.

Norse Energy Corp.’s challenge to a drilling ban in the upstate town of Dryden has been closely watched by an industry hoping to drill in New York’s piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and opponents of the technology they want to use, also known as fracking.

Environmentalists fear the drilling, which frees gas from deep rock deposits by injecting wells with chemical-laced water at high pressure, could threaten water supplies and public health.

More than 50 New York municipalities have banned gas drilling in the past few years, and more than 100 have enacted moratoriums on drilling activitie

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