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Home Rule Decision May Set Stage for Limited Fracking if Cuomo Approves

Jul 2, 2014

Credit Reuters/Les Stone

Monday's Court of Appeals decision that gives local governments in New York the right to ban hydrofracking within their borders may not be the complete victory some anti-fracking groups are hoping for.

That's the opinion of journalist and blogger Tom Wilber, who has covered all sides of the controversy.        

"There are many local governments, especially in the area that is showing the most promise for shale gas development right along the Pennsylvania border, who do not have home rule bans. They, in fact, favor fracking. These places are very likely to go ahead, if and when the governor gives the green light."

Wilber says this week's ruling by New York's highest court sets the stage for what Governor Cuomo hinted at in 2012-to allow fracking on a test basis, but only in parts of the state where residents want it. 

"He's been very quiet on it for the last year and a half because it's so political. But, after the elections, when it comes down to it, he can say, 'Okay, we're gonna go ahead in places that want it. We won't go in places that don't want it.' And essentially, this court decision supports that. It gives rationale for that decision."

The Cuomo administration has held up a decision about whether to allow hydrofracking in the state pending an ongoing environmental review.