ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York’s highest court is set to consider whether municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas.
The Court of Appeals will hear arguments in two cases where a midlevel appellate court unanimously concluded last year that state mining and drilling law doesn’t trump the authority of local governments to control land use.
The challenges have been closely watched by an industry hoping to drill in New York’s piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists who fear drilling could threaten water supplies and public health.
Hydraulic fracturing frees gas from deep rock deposits by injecting wells with chemical-laced water at high pressure.
State officials have been studying whether to permit, limit and regulate the practice in New York.