I am pleased to have joined with nine other law professors in an amicus brief to the NY Appellate Division, 3rd Dept. in Norse Energy v Town of Dryden. Our brief focuses not on whether hydrofracking presents positive opportunities or negative consequences for New York, but rather on the question of municipal home rule authority. The brief argues that state law presently does not expressly or impliedly preempt local control on the subject of gas drilling. Further, we assert that the suggestion of an implied preemption is unconstitutional and a violation of state statutes that define local government authority. The brief makes it clear that a number of local governments have welcomed gas drilling and others prefer not to allow the use within their borders. The point is, that each local government has and should have the power to reach these conclusion for themselves, regardless of other policy debates regarding the hydrofracking controversy. Special thanks to Professor Rick Hills of NYU for coordinating this effort, along with the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic and Morningside Heights Legal Services, Inc. for their work.
Below are links to the amicus briefs filed, as well as the briefs of the parties. In all likelihood, regardless of what the appellate division decides, this case is eventually headed to the Court of Appeals.
A copy of the amicus brief from the law professors is available here
The Appellant’s brief (Norse Energy) is available here
The Town’s Brief is available here
An amicus brief from the US Chamber of Commerce in support of hydrofracking is available here
The New York Farm Bureau’s Amicus Brief is available here
The amicus brief of the Catskill Riverkeeper and other environmental groups is available here
The amicus brief of the Town of Ulysses, the Association of Towns of the State of NY, the NY Planning Federation and the New York Conference of Mayors is available here