NEWS BLOG: Fracking fight – state vs. local

BY JEREMY MOULE

Officials in many New York communities have already passed laws to keep high-volume hydraulic fracturing outside of their limits. But the bans and moratoriums have raised a big question: if the state ultimately allows high-volume fracking, will the local protections survive?

Ultimately, the courts will decide the matter. In fact, earlier this year a judge upheld a ban in the town of Dryden (see this article in Businessweek), which was encouraging to fracking critics and some local-level government leaders.

This uncertainty over land-use restrictions and fracking isn’t unique to New York.  Pennsylvania is several years into a shale gas drilling boom, but it’s still sorting out a variety of laws and regulations, including the issue of local fracking restrictions or bans. In one very pertinent example, a Pennsylvania court overturned a state law banning local limits on fracking. A Brookings Institute blog post puts the land-use questions into context:

“This [Pennsylvania] ruling serves as a reminder that few governance issues are as contentious as governmental battles over land-use decisions,” says the post. “Federal and state policies that restrict land-use preferences have routinely been assaulted by waves of litigation, many aiming to return authority to private and local hands.”

The post also says that the fracking-related land-use debates happening in New York and Pennsylvania are likely to go national.

3 comments

  1. j jongen · · Reply

    This fracking isue is fractious on many levels (pun intended). The Brookings Institute blog states that ‘Federal and state policies that restrict land-use preferences have routinely been assaulted by waves of litigation, many aiming to return authority to private and local hands.” But the the exact opposite is happening in New York: the only two litigation in NY brought by the fracking industry against municipalities were both won by the municipalities. So the ‘wave’ represents less than one percent of the towns and villages that protected its residents with moratoria and bans against fracking. The ‘private and local’ residents are the 90%+ residents who do not want to sacrifice their health and environment to this destructive gas fracking industry.

    1. At the very least, the anti-fracking kooks forfeit the right to say a single word about climate change.

      But it’s still sheer insanity to hold ourselves hostage to these Luddite kooks. Drill, baby, drill!

      1. Troll Whisperer · ·

        Infantile name-calling; how persuasive. And what a tribute to the power of the fracking industry / lobby that they’ve been able to somehow get legislation passed that allows them to not divulge the poisons they put into the ground. The fracking industry succeeded in this deception.That tells us all we need to know. BTW, j.a.m., natural gas is a fossil fuel.

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