Babst Calland: New York’s Highest Court Upholds Right of Municipalities to Ban Oil and Gas Activities

By Michael C. Murphy

Today the New York Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming local zoning laws adopted by two upstate towns that prohibited oil and gas-related activities within their borders.   Specifically, the Court ruled that there was nothing within the plain language, statutory scheme and legislative history of the New York Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) that manifested an intent by the legislature to preempt a municipality’s home rule authority to regulate land use.  The Court expressly stated in the decision that it was not passing judgment on “whether hydrofracking is beneficial or detrimental to the economy, environment or energy needs of New York,” noting that the cases only “concerned the relationship between the State and its local government subdivisions, and their respective exercise of legislative power.”  A copy of the Court’s opinion can be found here.

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