New York court gives green light to fracking bans

Sarah Spickernell
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NY court allows fracking bans (Source: Reuters)

Today, New York's highest court ruled that the state's towns and cities can block hydraulic fracking within their borders.

The ruling comes as the energy industry awaits a decision on whether a hold on hydraulic fracking, which has been in place in New York since 2008, will be lifted.

Fracking has been important in pushing the US forward in natural gas production over the past seven years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it is thought that the move might cause oil and gas companies to give up on trying to extract gas in the area. Thomas West, attorney for energy company Norse Energy, had previously said that the industry could turn its back on the state if bans were allowed.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, told Bloomberg that the ruling is “one more nail in the coffin” for fracking in the state.

By injecting fluid into cracks in rocks, fracking creates larger fissures that allow more oil and gas to flow to the surface. The process has been condemned by some environmental activists, who say that it could have repercussions for the surrounding environment, such as contaminated water. They hope that the case may prompt other states to challenge their current laws on fracking.

“I hope our victory serves as an inspiration to people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, California and elsewhere who are also trying to do what’s right for their own communities,” Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner said in a statement.

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