Town says drilling ban is consistent with land-use authority

The article below explores the legal positions of both parties in the industry suit against the Town of Dryden's energy development ban.  Counsel for the Town of Dryden concedes that the town cannot regulate oil and gas drilling partially (except for roads) but then maintains that a ban, total regulation constituting exclusion, is permissible.


An upstate New York town that prohibited gas drilling within its borders has filed a response to a lawsuit looking to overturn the ban.
Anschutz Exploration Corp filed suit last month in state Supreme Court in Tompkins County, claiming the ban adopted by the Ithaca suburb of Dryden runs afoul of a state law prohibiting municipalities from attempting to regulate the oil and gas industries. The suit could have statewide implications, particularly in the gas-rich Southern Tier, as New York inches closer to allowing the controversial drilling method known as hydro-fracking.
In documents filed Friday, the attorney for Dryden, which in August passed an amendment to its zoning law explicitly banning gas drilling, argued that the all-out ban is not a regulation, and is consistent with the land-use authority the state vests in municipalities.
"The zoning amendment does not relate to the regulation of the oil and gas industry, but to an entirely different subject matter and purpose, to wit: land use control," Dryden Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins wrote.
Regulations include more specific rules, such as those regarding noise levels or the treatment of wastewater, but not full bans, Perkins said in an interview earlier this month. Case law gives towns the ability to regulate the use of local roads by drilling companies, and to levy property taxes on land owned by oil and gas firms....