Town of Dryden asks top court to uphold fracking bans


A central New York town is asking the state’s top court to reject a request to appeal decisions that have upheld its local hydrofracking ban, arguing that previous decisions against a previous appeal should be enough to uphold it.

Since a mid-level appeals court ruled unanimously that the ban in the Tompkins County town of Dryden is legal, a lawyer for Norse Energy Corp. had to ask permission to appeal to the state Court of Appeals. The attorney, Tom West, made that request earlier this month.

In a court filing Thursday, an attorney for the Tompkins County town of Dryden called on the court to turn down West’s request.

“At this point, we don’t think there’s anything left to resolve,” Dryden Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner said in a statement. “Our town clearly has the right, enshrined in our state constitution and upheld by the courts, to decide how land is used within our town borders.”

Out of 999 requests to appeal non-split Appellate Division decisions in 2012, just 64 were granted.

The Dryden case and a similar one in the Otsego County town of Middlefield are expected to set a statewide precedent as to whether local governments can ban gas drilling and fracking. High-volume fracking is still on hold in New York as the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health weigh its merits.

Here’s the Dryden filing, courtesy of Earthworks Earthjustice, the group representing Dryden:

Letter Opposing Norse Appeal


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  1. carol tansey on

    Not only has Dryden’s anti-fracking law UNANIMOUSLY been upheld at the Appellate Court level, but also BOTH the towns of Dryden and Middleton have successfully passed anti-fracking laws within their respective borders.

    The public has spoken.

  2. Taxpayer1301 on

    Fracking and all forms of mineral extraction harm rather than help the economies of communities like Dryden. Fracking harms public health and endangers as well as destroys local environments. So, having a ban and defending it in court is just common sense. Good for Dryden!

  3. Since the lower courts both unanimously decided in favor of Home Rule and the towns people have passed laws, what does the high court need to understand further. As another writer said “The people have spoken”