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New York court allows towns to ban fracking

July 09, 2014
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New York state communities will be allowed to ban hydraulic fracturing on their territories, following a ruling by the state's highest court. The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of lawsuits looking to challenge bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield by a 5-2 vote, Bloomberg reported.

The decision might block the development of the oil and gas industry, which eagerly anticipates Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision whether the moratorium over drilling in New York should be lifted.

According to Bloomberg, the ruling might still keep oil and gas companies outside the state, even if the moratorium is lifted. Moreover, it may encourage communities in other states to look for the same rights, Katherine Nadeau, policy director for anti-fracking group Environmental Advocates of New York, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Even though some parts of New York are located on top of the Marcellus shale -- one of the most bountiful shale plays in the country -- natural gas trapped inside the formation may never be extracted. Most experts now expect that investments in New York will be diverted to other states, as the industry is likely to abandon plans for drilling in the state. Developing and providing the resources to convince communities that drilling is worth it would demand both time and money that oil and gas companies will probably want to spend elsewhere, Thomas West, an attorney for gas exploration and production company Norse Energy, said.

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