On February 24, a second New York trial court has upheld a local zoning ordinance that prohibits natural gas exploration and production in the case of Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield. The town of Middlefield enacted a zoning ordinance that included “gas, oil or solution drilling or mining” as a prohibited use. The plaintiff in this case was a landowner that had signed two oil and gas leases. Just as the plaintiff in Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden, the plaintiff here argued that the zoning ordinance banning natural gas activities was superseded by the New York Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML). The court rejected this argument and stated that there was nothing in the language or history of the statute to suggest that it was meant to abrogate the authority of localities to enact land use regulations. Therefore, the court granted the Town of Middlefield’s motion to dismiss the complaint.
Click here to read the court's opinion
Written by Dan McGraw, Research Assistant
February 27, 2012