The Marcellus Shale has seen some significant legal developments in recent weeks. In New York, two state court judges have upheld the power of municipalities to enact zoning ordinances that restrict or ban hydro-fracking within the city/town’s boarders. One or both of those decisions will likely be appealed and, unless those appeals are expedited, a ruling from the Appellate Division on this land use issue will not be forthcoming for many months.
Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo’s administration has been quietly reviewing the public comments made to New York’s proposed final regulations for fracking in New York. It is unknown whether New York will modify the existing proposed regulations, but, based on some public comments made by various state officients, it is anticipated that fracking will not be banned in New York.
Additionally, in Pennsylvania, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently increased its visibility in testing of groundwater. The EPA’s activity has been observed by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmntal Protection as overstepping its authority. The EPA is currently conducting extensive studies of hydraulic fracking and its monitoring is in connection with those studies.