"Get the Frack Out of Town:" Preemption Challenges to Local Fracking Bans in New York

20th February 2012 By: Andrew Meyer

Anti-Fracking ProtestorsNatural gas leaseholders and industry have sued at least two municipalities, challenging recently enacted zoning ordinances that remove natural gas extraction as a permissible land use-in effect banning fracking within municipal borders.  State courts are now poised to decide whether localities in New York have the power to ban fracking locally, or if ordinances banning fracking are preempted by state law.  The question presented is whether the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSM) preempts a generally applicable zoning ordinance that bans natural gas extraction.  This Field Report discusses the factual and legal context in which this question arises, and argues that the OGSM does not preempt a general zoning ban on natural gas extraction.