Opponents of a move paving the way for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years have applied for a judicial review.
It comes after North Yorkshire county council's planning committee voted 7-4 in favour of a bid by Third Energy to extract shale gas at a site near Kirby Misperton in May.
Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale said today that the decision was unlawful. They accused councillors of failing to consider the impact of burning gas extracted to create electricity at a nearby power station in Knapton and secure long-term financial protection against damage to the environment.
Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and Humber campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel and it is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council to require a full assessment of the impact this fracking application would have on the climate."
He continued: "They failed to do that, and this is why we believe the courts need to consider the way that this decision was arrived at."
The process commonly known as fracking, which involves drilling then shooting a high-pressure water mixture into rock to release the gas inside, has not taken place in the UK since 2011.
It was banned after tests found that fracking was the likely cause of minor earthquakes on the Fylde coast in Lancashire five years ago.
Opponents say that it could cause more earthquakes, contaminate the local water supply and result in noise pollution. But the UK government has repeatedly stressed the economic benefits of fracking, such as job creation.