- Ag Docket
(town enacted ordinance prohibiting activities relating to hydrofracking within town’s boundaries in response to petition from residents; plaintiff owned gas leases for 22,200 acres and invested $5.1 million prior to enactment of the ordinance; plaintiff brought suit arguing New York’s Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) preempted town’s ordinance; town filed motion for summary judgment; court examined earlier precedent interpreting identical provision in New York’s Mined Land Reclamation Law (MLRL) that found no preemption of local authority to zone mining activity (i.e., oil and gas drilling); court found no meaningful distinction between the two statutes and granted the motion finding current state mining law did not preempt local zoning authority; court did strike and sever provision invalidating lawfully issued permits granted by other governmental entities; court's decision raises significant cross-border implications, particularly with Pennsylvania, which allows fracking and limits municipal authority to regulate where drilling occurs; in addition, court's decision may be appealed or plaintiff may pursue constitutional takings claim against defendant; court's opinion also ignores the reality that a drilling area could cover many acres that overlap multiple towns with the result that local regulation could result in varying regulation of a particular drilling activity; court also ignored fact that while fracking has been conducted in the U.S. for over 60 years, there isn't hasn't been a single reported case involving contamination to groundwater).
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