New York Court Upholds Communities’ Right to Protect Residents from Fracking

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ALBANY (June 30, 2014) — The New York Court of Appeals today upheld communities' right to use traditional local zoning laws to keep fracking out of their borders if they so choose. The ruling came in two cases decided jointly—one brought by an oil company and the other a dairy farm that wanted to lease its land—challenging the towns of Dryden and Middlefield's decisions to ban the industrial activity there.

The Natural Resources Defense Council helped defend this right by filing an amicus brief in support of the towns. NRDC's Community Fracking Defense Projectis fighting to empower communities around the country to take similar action to protect themselves when states and/or the federal government has yet to do so.

A statement follows from Kate Sinding, Director of the Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"This is American democracy at its best. The state's highest court has said it loud and clear: New York communities have a right to keep industrial fracking off their property, away from their families, and out of their neighborhoods if they so choose. This sends a message to all the oil and gas drillers anxiously eyeing our borders—the people of New York will not be steamrolled. The case reflects a growing trend of communities around the country taking their fracking fate into their own hands, rather than waiting for the state or federal government to act."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter .

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