In one of the most anxiously awaited New York land use decisions in recent memory, the State’s highest court held that local governments have the power to regulate hydrofracking under their authority to enact zoning ordinances. Both the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield enacted zoning laws that entirely banned gas drilling and associated activities within their borders. The plaintiffs, a private gas company in one case and a private property owner in the other, claimed that a supersession clause in the State Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) preempted local authority. After reviewing the plain language of the OGSML, the statutory scheme, and its legislative history, the court concluded that the legislature did not expressly or by implication preempt the power of localities in New York to regulate land use. Preempted, under the OGSML, in the court’s view, was the power to regulate the operations of the oil and gas industry, not matters normally associated with land use regulation.
Jessica A. Bacher & John R. Nolon, Highest Court in New York Affirms Local Power to Regulate Hydrofracking, N.Y. Zoning L. & Prac. Rep., Sept./Oct. 2014, at 1, http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/978/.