In a 5-2 decision on June 30, 2014 the New Court of Appeals upheld the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield’s outright bans on oil and gas development anywhere within town borders. The Court had been asked to interpret whether the State’s oil and gas law superseded the Towns’ ability to enact zoning laws affecting where oil and gas drilling can take place. Relying on New York’s strong tradition of “Home Rule”, the Court decided that the oil and gas law’s provision that it “supersedes all local laws or ordinances relating to the regulation of the oil [and] gas industries” doesn’t include zoning laws or ordinances.
The impact of this decision is sure to be far reaching. Please contact Adam Schultz for more information regarding this important ruling.