Last Thursday, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department heard arguments on whether state law permits towns to prohibit natural-gas development within their borders.

Last year, two state Supreme Court judges upheld local zoning laws adopted by the towns of Middlefield and Dryden that effectively banned large-scale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing within the towns’ borders. Attorneys for Norse Energy and an Otsego County farmer appealed those decisions. A decision is expected in the next few months, and there is a possibility that the case will go to the Court of Appeals before it is settled.

Unfortunately, New York State continues to drag its feet in its environmental and health review of natural gas development using high volume hydraulic fracturing, effectively banning the practice.