the court of appeals in albany on monday upheld rulings allowing individual towns and cities to act using a principle known as home rule, under which they can vote to keep away industries they deem as threats to common resources. in the case of fracking, this can mean air and water, even if state and federal laws say otherwise.
the 5-2 decision applies specifically to challenges to bans in the upstate towns of dryden and middlefield, but means bans passed in about 170 other new york communities are also immune to similar challenges. the state now waits for new york governor andrew cuomo to decide on whether to life the moratorium on fracking, in place since july 2008.
governor cuomo said he first needs to see the results of a health impact review his office undertook in 2012. but now, even if he does decide to welcome frackers into the state, individual communities officially have a legal way to opt out - and, if enough do, the gas and oil industry could decide new york is no longer worth their while.
the majority opinion was written by associate judge victoria graffeo, who said, "these appeals are not about whether hydrofracking is beneficial or detrimental to the economy, environment or energy needs of new york, and we pass no judgment on its merits. these are major policy questions for the coordinate branches of government to resolve."
graffeo also said, "the discrete issue before us, and the only one we resolve today, whether the state legislature eliminated the home rule capacity of municipalities to pass zoning laws that exclude oil, gas and hydrofracking activities in order to preserve the existing character of their communities."
john armstrong of frack action and new yorkers against fracking said in a statement, "we applaud the court for once again affirming the right of new yorkers to ban fracking and its toxic effects from their communities. as chief judge lippman said, you don't bulldoze over the voice of the people."
armstrong further commented, "but water and contaminations don't stop at local boundaries, and governor cuomo must ban fracking statewide to protect our health and homes from the arrogant and inherently harmful fracking industry."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.