Judge Upholds NY Town's Gas Drilling Ban

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Anti-fracking sign

A state Supreme Court judge has upheld a community's ban on gas drilling, in the first ruling on whether local governments can prevent drilling through local ordinances in New York state.

Dozens of towns and cities have adopted bans against drilling with the controversial practice of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Anschutz Exploration filed suit in September against the town of Dryden's ban, saying only the state has authority to regulate gas drilling.

State Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey ruled Tuesday that the state's mining law doesn't stop towns from banning drilling through zoning ordinances.

Attorney Tom West, who represented Anschutz, said the company might appeal.

Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates said the ruling is a big victory for communities concerned about gas development's health and environmental impacts.