The New York Court of Appeals on September 30, 2013 set a schedule for the parties to file briefs in two cases that will likely have a substantial impact on the future of hydraulic fracturing in the state. In August of this year, the Court of Appeals granted
review of two cases which upheld local natural gas drilling bans in the upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield. The Appellants in the two cases, which include Norse Energy Corp. and an owner of several oil and gas leases, must file their initial briefs by October 28, 2013, and the towns must file their response briefs by December 16, 2013. Reply briefs from the Appellants are due by January 6, 2014. The Court of Appeals has not set a date for oral arguments.
The Court will determine whether the New York Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law preempts a municipality’s authority to enact a zoning ordinance that prohibits drilling within its jurisdiction. To date, more than 50 municipalities in New York have banned gas drilling.