New York Appeals Court Upholds Bans on Fracking

TIME

In a blow to the oil and gas industry, the New York state Court of Appeals in Albany ruled Monday that cities have the authority to ban hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling, or fracking.

The decision is a victory for anti-fracking activists while Governor Andrew Cuomo weighs whether or not to lift a six-year-old statewide moratorium on the controversial practice.

The Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York state, dismissed two lawsuits brought by oil and gas firms against the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, two small, rural communities in New York that instituted fracking bans after extraction firms started exploring for natural gas deposits in the area.

Environmental advocates around the country have raised concerns about the potential impact of fracking—in which underground explosions release trapped oil and gas deposits—including pollution of groundwater resources, heavy traffic and road use in rural areas and a possible…

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