Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and New York City comptroller-elect, is dipping his toe into the New York state fracking debate, filing a brief in a case that will decide whether local governments can ban gas drilling.
Stringer’s borough president office filed the brief today, urging the state Court of Appeals — New York’s highest court — to uphold lower court rulings that allowed cities, towns and villages to prohibit fracking within their borders.
“Municipal control over land use decisions preserves the right of communities to shape their own neighborhoods as they see fit,” the brief reads. “While New York State’s review of hydraulic fracturing is ongoing and will affect the future of the industry through the Empire State, municipalities are far better situated to determine what land use is appropriate for their territory since they have local knowledge that may be overlooked as part of the broader statewide effort.”
The Tompkins County town of Dryden and the town of Middlefield in Otsego County were sued last year over their local fracking bans, with now-defunct Norse Energy and a Middlefield dairy farmer arguing that state law prohibits local governments from regulating the gas industry, except when it comes to road use. (Norse’s bankruptcy trustee, meanwhile, filed suit yesterday in an attempt to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to lift a statewide de factor moratorium on fracking.)
Both the state Supreme Court and the Appellate Division backed Middlefield and Dryden, but the Court of Appeals agreed earlier this year to take on the case.
(AP file photo)