By Cliff Weathers, AlterNet, 6/30/14
Energy companies hint they may not bother fracking with New York after the ruling.
New York’s highest court ruled today that municipalities can ban hydrofracking operations within their territorial boundaries. The state’s Court of Appeals said the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can write zoning laws to ban specific heavy industries, including oil and gas production.
“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer of Dryden, which is located in New York’s Upstate Finger Lakes region.
“Today’s ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit,” added Leifer.
The ruling by the court, which passed 5-2, cemented the power of a principle known as known as municipal home rule, which grants villages and towns in the state the right to manage their own affairs and restricts state legislation from intruding into local governance. In the case of Dryden and Middlefield, the towns sought to keep away industries that they decided posed a threat to their local resources.
While this may seem only to be a small victory, environmentalists are calling this “huge.” …
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