Lifton Local Control Gas Drilling Legislation Passes in NY Assembly

June 20, 2011

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) announced today the passage of legislation in the Assembly that she authored which clarifies the role of municipalities in governing oil, gas, and solution mining development within their jurisdiction.

The bill allows for municipalities to enact or enforce local laws of general applicability if the local laws do not directly regulate the oil, gas, and solution mining industries regulated by state statute. Zoning authority is given to local governments by Article IX of the State Constitution.

“This bill codifies existing NY Court of Appeals case law to clear up the understandable confusion surrounding the state regulatory program for oil and gas development and how it could affect local zoning law. State regulations do not override local zoning ordinances which may dictate where oil and gas extraction is a permissible use. My bill codifies the Frew Gravel Run Products, Inc. v. Town of Carroll court ruling and makes it clear that this authority remains with municipal zoning boards confronted with the possibility of expanded Marcellus Shale gas drilling,” Lifton said.

“The Assembly has acted to put control over zoning in relation to gas drilling in the hands of local elected officials. I strongly urge the Senate to take up this bill before the end of session in order to offer this power and protection to local citizens,” concluded Lifton.