Monday, July 07, 2014

New York anti-fracking ruling could have major impact on the rest of the country

Getty Images by Andrew Burton:
Anti-fracking protesters in New York
Last week's 5-2 ruling by New York's high court that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing could have major implications for the rest of the country. The ruling— stemming from cases in the small towns of Dryden and Middlefield, which had been sued for banning fracking—could open the door for other states to pass similar laws, Steven Mufson reports for The Washington Post.

"There has been a wave of local resolutions, laws and proposals to ban or limit fracking and the disposal of fracking waste, including 35 in New Jersey, 13 in California, 10 in Colorado, 18 in Michigan and many more in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, according to the activist group Food & Water Watch," Mufson writes. "Even the District has adopted a resolution urging a prohibition on fracking in the George Washington National Forest."

"In the eyes of the oil and gas industry, though, putting the power to regulate fracking in local hands is bad for business and bad for U.S. energy policy," Mufson writes. "Shale gas drilling has unlocked vast reserves, and shale gas now accounts for about 40 percent of total U.S. natural gas production. Without it, companies would be lining up to import natural gas, not export it as many now want to do."

In Colorado, 59 percent of voters in Longmont, Colo., cast ballots in favor of a ban on fracking and waste disposal, even though nationwide industry groups poured money into Longmont Taxpayers for Common Sense, which opposed the ban," Mufson writes. "Since then, four more Colorado towns have also banned or declared a long moratorium on fracking. Court challenges have been filed." (Read more)

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