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Photo: Innovation Trail
Photo: Innovation Trail

Dryden court decision could open door for local fracking bans

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A judge in Cortland County has upheld the Tomkins county town of Dryden's ban on gas drilling within its borders. As the Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports, this is just the first step in what could be a long process.

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Reported by

Matt Richmond
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

State Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey found that Dryden can enact zoning laws that ban drilling. The case could open the door for similar bans on hydrofracking in towns across New York.

Dryden town attorney Mahlon Perkins says the state will still regulate the technical aspects of drilling.

"And it was left to municipalities under their zoning authority and land use authority to regulate the 'where' and even the 'if.'"

Perkins expects the drilling company Anschutz Exploration to appeal the decision. Anschutz’s lawyer, Tom West, says the driller hasn’t decided whether to appeal.

"That will be based upon business factors—cost and whether or not you know they’re going to stay involved in New York State."

According to West, they have 30 days to decide their next step. He says a parallel case in the town of Middlefield could eventually invalidate the Dryden decision.

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