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Judge upholds home rule in zoning of natural gas drilling

February 22, 2012

DRYDEN, NY — A New York State judge has ruled in favor of the right of a municipality to adopt zoning that prohibits natural gas drilling within its borders.

In the case of Anschutz Exploration Corporation v. the Town of Dryden and the Town of Dryden Town Board, the Honorable Phillip R. Rumsay of the NYS Supreme Court in the County of Tomkins concluded that the town zoning ordinance is not pre-empted by the state Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law.

In making his decision, the judge relied heavily on case law established in Frew Run Gravel v. the Town of Carrol and Gernatt Asphalt Products v. the Town of Sardinia.
Anschutz has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the decision, and it is expected that it will do so. Company representatives also said the company might consider an alternative legal approach, suing on account of “wrongful takings” claims.

The decision can be viewed at