Thursday, September 15, 2011

Middlefield's Zoning Law pertaining to Natural Gas Development Goes to Court

The Town of Middlefield's laws drafted to keep the development of natural gas resources  will be tested in Court...

We will be watching these (middlefield and Dryden) cases closely. 

For Immediate Release:                                                        September 15, 2011

A lawsuit has been filed against the Town of Middlefield in Otsego County to declare the provisions of its Zoning Law pertaining to oil and gas drilling within the Town of Middlefield to be void and in violation of New York State law. The law firm of Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP has been retained to stop the town’s efforts to ban oil and gas drilling.

Jennifer Huntington and other Middlefield residents have already signed oil and gas leases. The new town zoning law will deprive them of their rights to market their minerals under their leases. Similar zoning laws are being enacted in other New York towns. All of these bans violate Environmental Conservation Law § 23-0303(2) which states that all local municipalities are preempted from passing local laws relating to the regulation of the oil and gas industries. Towns may not pass laws prohibiting oil and gas operations since the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is exclusively charged with the obligation to regulate the oil and gas industries in New York.
The Middlefield case will establish precedent preventing towns from violating New York law.  Success in Middlefield will be a win for all landowners in New York. Donations to support the Middlefield case can be made payable to the “Middlefield Fund For Landowner Rights” and mailed to NBT Bank, 2 Commons Drive, Cooperstown, New York 13326.

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