A mid-level appeals court says New York municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas.
The four-judge appellate division panel ruled unanimously Thursday that state mining and drilling law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use.
The case of Norse Energy Corp.'s challenge to a ban in the Tompkins County town of Dryden has been closely watched by industry hoping to drill in New York's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and opponents of the technology known as "fracking." Environmentalists fear drilling could threaten water supplies and public health.
In a separate ruling based on the Dryden decision, the court upheld a ban in Middlefield in Otsego County.
Lawyers for Norse and a landowner in Middlefield say they'll ask the state's top court for permission to appeal.