2nd NY court upholds town ban on gas drilling

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A state judge has upheld a central New York town's zoning ordinance banning oil and gas drilling, a second court victory this week for residents determined to keep natural gas development out of their back yards.

State Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio's decision Friday upholds the Otsego County town of Middlefield's drilling ban. It comes after a decision Tuesday upholding a similar ban in Dryden in Tompkins County.

The Middlefield law was challenged by Cooperstown Holstein, which has gas leases on about 380 acres in the town. The Dryden law was challenged by Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp. Both lawsuits cited a law giving the state authority to regulate gas development. The judges both ruled that a ban on drilling is not regulation.

Industry lawyer Tom West says appeals are likely.

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