State’s highest court will hear gas drilling cases

The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court will hear two cases that could determine whether local communities can ban gas drilling.  The courts will most likely not hear the cases before May 2014 and a ruling is not expected until July 2014.

The cases brought against the towns of Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County had unanimous rulings by lower courts upholding their right to ban gas drilling.

At the time of the Dryden appellate decision, The Business Council of New York State issued the following statement:

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., said, “The Business Council’s position is unchanged. We have been a steadfast supporter of shale development. The economic opportunities and potential jobs created by natural gas development would bring a lasting positive impact to the region and the state, and we believe that scientific and technical reviews will prove the case for moving forward with permits in New York State.  Regardless of the final court outcome on this case, we oppose statutory prohibitions on the state or local level, as contrary to sound economic, energy and environmental policy.”

The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. report Drilling for Jobs: What the Marcellus Shale could mean for New York found that creating as few as 300 natural gas wells per year in the Marcellus Shale has the potential to generate more than 37,500 jobs annually in New York. Natural gas exploration provides high paying jobs. The average wage in Oil and Gas Extraction and Support Activities for mining is $79,184 in New York State, over double the private sector wage in upstate New York of $39,157.

Additionally, Republican state Sen. Greg Ball, who initially backed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing wrote an op/ed supporting a gradual phase in that is regulated by the state.

Ball wrote, “Let’s be frank, our friends upstate and in the Southern Tier are starving for job creation… a recent report by the state Comptroller’s office showed that the five counties that border the State of Pennsylvania and would benefit most…”

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