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In a precedent-setting case decided today by the New York Court of Appeals, local communities have triumphed over the fracking industry. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders. 

Helen Slottje and Deborah Goldberg stand on the steps of the Court of Appeals in Albany on June 3 shortly before oral arguments. Photo credit: Earthjustice
Helen Slottje and Deborah Goldberg stand on the steps of the Court of Appeals in Albany on June 3 shortly before oral arguments. Photo credit: Earthjustice

“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer. “This would not have been possible without the hard work of many of my friends and neighbors and our lawyers Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice and Mahlon Perkins. Today’s ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit.”

Deborah Goldberg argues before the Court of Appeals on June 3. Photo credit: Earthjustice
Deborah Goldberg argues before the Court of Appeals on June 3. Photo credit: Earthjustice

“This decision by the Court of Appeals has settled the matter once and for all across New York State and has sent a firm message to the oil and gas industry,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg. “For too long the oil and gas industry has intimidated and abused people, expecting to get away with it. That behavior is finally coming back to haunt them, as communities across the country stand up and say ‘no more.’ Earthjustice is proud to have stood with, and fought on behalf of, one such community.” 

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