A Denver-based gas industry has filed notice that it plans to appeal a state judge’s ruling that New York’s municipalities can ban gas drilling and hydrofracking within their borders.
Tom West, an Albany-based attorney representing Anschutz Exploration Corp., told Gannett CNY’s Rachel Stern that the company has officially decided to move forward with an appeal in the case that could set a statewide precedent when it comes to towns and cities banning the natural-gas extraction process.
Anschutz sued the Tompkins County town of Dryden last year after the town strengthened its zoning laws to make clear that gas drilling was not allowed within its limits. The company cited a clause in the state’s Environmental Protection law that says the state has regulatory authority over oil and gas drilling, but a state Supreme Court justice ruled last month that towns can still ban the practice outright.
“We are very confident in the ultimate outcome of the issue,” he said. “We look forward to hearing from the judge on the motion to renew and the ultimate decision from the appellate court.”
West said the notice of appeal went out in the Dryden case on Thursday. From day one, West said, it was his client’s preference to appeal.
“It is a complex situation and there will be more unfolding about that,” (West) said. “But the case is moving forward on appeal. That is the news for today.”
Dryden Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner said the town would continue to defend its zoning regulations through the appeals process.
The lawsuit in Dryden is similar to one that was filed against the Otsego County town of Middlefield by a dairy farmer after the town passed a ban. A separate state Supreme Court justice ruled that the ban was legal shortly after the Dryden case was decided; landowners groups have been trying to raise money to fund an appeal. UPDATE: According to the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, the Middlefield decision has been appealed as well.